As the early comings of the Olympics began, Olympic hockey was the big talk of all hockey fans. Team Russia, and Team Canada stacked as high as can be and here was Team USA, whom those thought, would have no chance of making the medal round. Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner, Ryan Malone, Ryan Kesler, Bobby Ryan, Brooks Orpik, Jack Johnson and Brian Rafalski just to mention a few. A team full of gentlemen out to prove everyone wrong, and they did just that with an exclamation point on February 21st. A showdown on a world stage of Canada vs. USA. A 5-3 victory over the Almighty leaving Canadian fans scratching their heads, how could this be? This down low gritty, in your face, team who was representing the land of the free gave every American even more reason to be proud as can be. Going unbeaten in the preliminary rounds gave the US the rightful spot of number 1, as well as a quarterfinal round bye. Our first opponent in the elimination round was the Swiss. A hard fought 2-1 victory sent us to the semifinal round. Finland was next, and boy did they get a taste of what the US was made of! A 6-1 routing that led the US into the Gold medal game.
Could this really happened again? The USA and Canada playing for all the glory? Oh yes it did. A Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. where all hockey fans were glued to their TV. Canada came out strong taking a 2 - nothing lead but Ryan Kesler wouldn’t allow the momentum to stay with Canada for very long as he deflects a shot past his own goaltender Roberto Luongo to cut the deficit in half. 2 periods past and one to go but little did we know this period were have the capability of stopping a beating heart. Under a minute, with Miller on the bench, a friend turned and looked at me as the words of, “Zach Parise, it’s time to be a hero, please?” came out of her mouth. Our hearts stopped for a second as the puck flew into the back of the net and Zach Parise went flying into the glass. OT in a game that couldn’t get any more epic. A few good chances shot past Lu but the best player in hockey would prove that’s his title, as Sidney Crosby slipped one through the legs of Ryan Miller to enable Canada to reach Gold glory.
Looking back on Team USA’s run, it was simply amazing. With all the odds against us, could you really say, “I knew the USA would be playing Canada for the Gold.” A few die hard believers might say yes but most all the hockey world thought “No”. Team USA did more than just make us proud, they proved in their Olympics hockey battles that, in reality, maybe hockey isn’t completely Canada’s game.