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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Stunned Canadians Pass Cup to U.S.

TORONTO -- There are no burning ruins as there were during the War of 1812, no families divided or lands lost as there were during the Revolution. But Canada was in mourning Sunday nonetheless after watching a piece of its sometimes tenuous national identity get seized, packaged and shipped to the United States at the close of the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

"Team Canada: Team Collapse," is how the Toronto Star characterized the nightmarish 5-2 loss in Game 3 of the best-of-three finals in Montreal to a U.S. team that veritably gloated over besting hockey's presumed masters.

In a nation whose history and current events often are framed in relationship to the United States, a few truly local constants have emerged. Hockey is one.

Or at least it was. At dinner parties and bars, on the sidelines of sporting matches and at the counters of coffee stands, there developed a shared dread as the U.S. team took the victory lap around the rink at Molson Centre on Saturday night.

"Even if you don't play, your identity is wrapped up in it," said Glen McArthur, a graphic designer from Toronto.

What is now called the World Cup of Hockey formerly was known as the Canada Cup, and its namesake country had only lost it once before, to the former Soviet Union.

But losing to the United States -- that gas-guzzling, crime-infested, TV-obsessed leviathan next door that Canadians simultaneously love and loathe -- is, as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's play-by-play noted, "a bitter pill."

Scattered throughout Canada's law books are rules meant to protect things Canadian against too deep an infiltration by the United States.

But nothing could protect Canada's aging group of hockey superstars from a younger U.S. team that in the end seemed to be shoving them around the ice at will.

There was disbelief that Canada lost a 2-1 lead late in the final period with an unusually cautious style of play; there was shock that the Americans could slam home two goals in under a minute to take a 3-2 lead.

Brett Hull and Tony Amonte scored in a 43-second span in the third period to decide the game.

The teams entered tied at 1 and Canada appeared set to retain its mantle of international ice hockey superiority when Adam Foote scored at 12:50.

Foote scored his first goal of the tournament on a weak shot from the right point that sailed in over U.S. goalie Mike Richter's shoulder.

Hull deflected a shot by Brian Leetch past Curtis Joseph at 16:42 to tie it.

Amonte won it, putting in a rebound of a shot by Derian Hatcher past Joseph at 17:25.

Canada nearly tied it in the final minute, but the puck bounced over Wayne Gretzky's stick in front of a wide-open net and Hatcher scored into an empty net goal with 41 seconds left. Adam Deadmarsh finished the flurry with a goal with 17 seconds remaining.

Canada was extended to the limit in the best-of-3 finals mainly because of Richter, who made 35 saves for the second straight game and was named tournament MVP.

Joseph, who kept Canada from falling behind early in the critical third period, finished with 21 saves.

Canada dominated the game, outshooting the United States 37-25, but didn't solve Richter until its 22nd shot of the second period. Eric Lindros scored with 5.5 seconds left while Canada held a man advantage - four skaters to three.

The big Philadelphia star, maligned in the press for his uninspiring play, tied the score at 1-1 on a relatively weak shot that skidded along the ice under Richter's blocker. It was his third goal in seven tournament games.

Before that, Canada's best chance to break through came midway through the second period during a two-man advantage that lasted 23 seconds. This time it was Gretzky who was baffled when the puck didn't go in as it has 960 times during his illustrious NHL career.

Gretzky gained control of the puck in the right corner and skated in along the goal line at Richter, but the New York Rangers goalie didn't budge on his fake, stopping Gretzky's shot and his poke at the rebound at the side of the net just inches from the line. Gretzky skated off, shrugging his shoulders.