Thursday, February 20, 2014

USA lady's hockey. Bridesmaids again

Being an American, it would have been easy to get caught up in the hype the USA Olympic lady's hockey team was generating. After all, since the team was put together, through exhibition games and earlier rounds of the Olympics themselves -- the Yankettes were absolutely dominating everybody -- except one team.

Yep, those pesky Canadians. Turns out, like their male counterparts, the Canuckies are pretty good at hockey as well. Who knew?

After all the other wannabes had been dispatched, finally the big showdown for the gold medal was on.

The USA squad certainly carried the play for the better part of the game. Deep into the 3rd period, they were leading 2-0. The gold medal was oh-so-close. It was finally payback time for the USA after getting bounced by Canada in the Vancouver Olympic games 4 long years ago. Silver was not an option this time around.

Then something unexpected happened. With only about 3 minutes left on the game clock, Team Canada scored a goal. 2-0 was now 2-1. It seemed to energize them. As the seconds kept ticking down, the Canadians pulled their goaltender, typically a last gasp desperation move that rarely works.

Usually the other team will eventually get control of the puck and score an empty net goal. Game over.

But not this time. Though an American skater did indeed manage to fire a long-distance shot at the yawning empty Canadian net -- it bounced harmlessly off the post. An inch to the right, and the Americans find themselves on top of the podium. Yet that shot didn't go in, and the Canadians regained control of the puck. Basically they were still on a "power play", 6 skaters to 5. They swarmed the American zone, and OMG, with under a minute left, scored another goal to even the game at 2-2. At that point, one could almost see some air come out of the Americans' balloon, while the Canadians were jacked up. Overtime awaited.

It didn't take long. Once OT started, Team Canada seemed to have found their second wind, while Team USA looked like they were hanging on. A question of conditioning? Maybe.

Just a couple minutes into OT, Canada scored the gold-medal winning goal after some very slick passing in the American zone left their goaltender helpless to stop it.

So once again, the Canadian ladies have shown those uppity brats from south of the border who's boss.

In a few short hours, their male counterparts will take center stage to slug it out for North American supremacy. The Yanks better win that one to even things out, else they'll have to give it up that, from sports bras and ponytails, to cups and NHL contracts -- the Canadians still own them.

At that, the winner of the men's game still has to face the winner of the Sweden/Finland contest before they can claim gold medals. Those Scandinavian guys shouldn't be taken lightly.

Seems they know how to play some serious hockey too. The Russians found that out the hard way -- getting eliminated by Finland in their own back yard.

If that's not bad enough, consider they recently had to quell something called a Pussy Riot. Now yours truly knoweth not what that's all about in the Motherland, but if that same phrase came roaring to life en masse in the United States -- Olympic hockey would be the least of our worries.

Scary thought.....

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