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US-Canada to Faceoff for Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Gold - 2002-02-23

The U.S. men's ice hockey team will play for the Olympic gold medal after edging Russia in Friday's semifinals, 3-2.

Exactly 22 years to the day that the USA beat Russia in the so-called "Miracle on Ice" game at the Lake Placid Olympics, the Americans beat the Russians again in an Olympic semifinal.

Team USA surged to a 3-0 lead here and dominated the first two periods, but then had to hold on to a 3-2 victory, thanks to superb goaltending from Mike Richter.

Forward Bill Guerin of the NHL's Boston Bruins scored one of the three U.S. goals. "The end result is great," he said. "We played 50 minutes tonight [instead of 60]. They came out really strong in the third period. But like I said, we got the result, and I think we learned from our lapse."

In the other semifinal, it was Canada easily handling Belarus, which has only one NHL player, 7-1. Belarus will take on Russia for the bronze medal Saturday.

The gold medal men's ice hockey match-up Sunday features Canada against the United States. American Bill Guerin said it should be a great game. "I just think it's great for hockey," he said. "I really do. This is, I think, the match-up, that everyone wanted to see. You know, we're in the gold medal game. We would have played anybody and been happy to have been there and want to win. It just so happens to be Canada. I think it's going to be a great game."

It's the same match-up there was in the women's ice hockey gold medal game here Thursday, and Canada won that one over the United States, 3-2.