Monday, February 22, 2010

Helluva game

It doesn't happen too often when a sporting event lives up to its hype. Last night the men's hockey game between the United States and Canada went beyond the hype. If casual viewers were enthralled, hockey fans had to be orgasmic. I had to change my shorts after each period.

This game exemplified why I like the sport of hockey. There was a ton of action. There was hitting. There was scoring. There was great defense. There was awesome goaltending. It was the perfect pace with each team moving the puck down ice, getting an opportunity to score and finding a goalie telling them NO!

Sure it was great that Team USA won. Even if the score was reversed and Canada won, it would still have been a game that would have people buzzing. It was a game that meant a lot to the American hockey program, defeating a bigger, better rival on its home ice. Beating a team they hadn't defeated in Olympic sport in 50 years.

This game was exciting right from the get go with the American team scoring within the opening minutes. Canada would come back and put on a shooting clinic. They seemed faster and nimbler with the puck. Mainly because they are. They easily outshot the US in the first period. It was good to be tied at the end of one with the barrage Ryan Miller felt in goal. Fans on both sides were buzzing with anticipation of the next period and what would unfold.

Mistakes by the Canadians led to Team USA getting the lead. The Americans stayed patient and took advantage of the opportunities given them. Miller stayed outstanding in goal as the pace stayed constant. One team would breakaway down ice just to have the other team catch the rebound and do the same. That actually isn't uncommon as a fast break can usually have a team over commit and allow the break back the other way. It is very exciting.

Brian Rafalski, Wisconsin Badger alumni and current Detroit Red Wing would get the hat trick in the third period and put Team USA up by 2. Both team continued to bang away as time came off the clock. The Canadians would pull back within one. Worse yet, they would get the puck back in the offensive zone and hammer away at the American goalie. The defense couldn't clear the puck. I was yelling for someone- anyone- clear the zone! They would with just under 2 minutes left. Soon the Canadians would be forced to pull their goalie (I know someone is snickering) and go for broke. The result though would be an empty net goal to seal the victory.

if you are a hockey fan and missed this game you might as well turn in your sweater. It was a classic. The only way it would be better if it was for a medal or at least in the medal round. It was pure excitement from beginning to end. A kind of game that you want to see and be a part of. The kind of game you hope will happen again if these two team meet again in the medal. That could very well happen. Of course I hope the result in the same. Team USA has the hot goalie which means a lot in playoff style hockey.

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