(The Canadian Hockey Place stadium is ready to rock at the start of the men's final. The crowd is nearly 20,000 strong.)
Canada has swept two of the biggest Winter Olympic events - men's and women's ice hockey. They took each title while playing their biggest rivals, the Americans. That brings their total number of gold medals during the Games to 14. That's the most golds by a host country ever for the Winter Olympics. That's also a whole lotta gold for Team Canada, a team that had NEVER won a single gold medal on home soil before the Vancouver Games. Good work, team!
(the Canadian women brought the US team literally to their knees on the way to victory.)
First on the women's side, Canada captured a third consecutive Olympic gold against the US on Thursday. It was an intense championship match and both sides wanted the win so badly. Unfortunately for the US squad, Canada went up 2-0 early in the first period and that was all she wrote for the rest of the game. The American women, two-time reigning world champs going in, had to settle for a silver medal. Finland took bronze with a 3-2 overtime win over Sweden. The Canadians celebrated for a long time on the ice with beer and cigars, which some people didn't like, but I didn't really care. Let 'em have their fun! I recognize medalists do need to be careful about what they're doing while wearing their medals because it's a symbol of the IOC they have certain rules, and it's also something people work very hard to achieve and that should be treated with respect, like a country's flag, so I understand why some people get upset about it. In this instance, it didn't bother me.
Today was the men's hockey final and it was being hyped as the Greatest Hockey Game Ever In The History Of The Universe. I don't think it beats US vs USSR in the Miracle on Ice, but it was a thrilling game.
I'm not a huge hockey fan. I find it hard to follow the puck, the constant fighting bores me, and it always seems like the team I'm rooting for has less players on the ice than the team I'm against. I'm not talking about a power play situation. It seems like there are 18 extra players on the ice for the people I don't like. But this game was really phenomenal. I didn't think that the US was going to tie it up at the end of regulation. Midway through the second period, the US team fell behind 2-0, after having never trailed in the entire tournament. They fought like hell to get back in it and tied things up on Zach Parise’s goal with 24 seconds remaining in the game.
It was unbelievable that they got to overtime, but once there, Canada pretty much regained control. Sidney Crosby, Canada’s superstar, hit a shot past US goalie Ryan Miller and ended the game. I would've loved a US win, but it was also really kinda awesome that Canada got to celebrate their most cherished victory at home and the flag could go up in the stadium and they could all sing the anthem. I liked that. The North American Border War on Ice was a great finale to an exciting Olympics in Vancouver. The US claimed the most overall medals ever. Canada claimed the most golds ever. Everybody in North America should go home happy.
(smiles all around for the winning Canadian men's hockey team. that's what they're talkin' aboot. )