USA vs. SWITZERLAND
It’s very fitting that Green Day’s “Welcome to Paradise” played during warm-up prior to Team USA taking on Team Switzerland as everyone in Canada Hockey Place in indeed in paradise today.
The most anticipated event at the Games officially kicked off with Ryan Kesler, who received a hardy greeting from the fans prior to the start of the first, losing a faceoff to Martin Pluss.
Kesler played eight shifts in the opening period alongside team captain Jamie Langenbrunner and assistant captain Dustin Brown. The trio didn’t mount much offence; it was Patrick Kane dizzying the Swiss and Bobby Ryan scoring the lone goal for the Americans, who lead 1-0 after 20 minutes.
Not sure if watching this on TV does it justice or not, but Canada Hockey Place is frickin’ electric. I don’t think I’m the only person here with bruises from pinching themselves.SECOND PERIOD
Goals from David Backes and Ryan Malone has the Americans up 3-0 through two periods in what is quickly becoming a lopsided contest.
Backes’ goal was a flawless end-to-end rush off a stop by Ryan Miller. The St. Louis forward nabbed the puck at the side of the his own goal, streaked down the left side of the ice out of the US zone, past centre ice and into the Swiss end before cutting in on defender Hnat Domenichelli and sliding the puck under Hiller’s left pad.
Kesler and company were once again quiet in the second; the Canucks grinder put his only shot on goal high and wide. He spent time on the power play with Brown and Ryan, a man advantage the US failed to score on.
Now to the important stuff: the chant of U-S-A has broken out twice so far and seemingly gets louder everytime, and the wave has flown around the rink once with one member of the media taking part, namely Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.
This game is zipping by. It’s only 1:30 and there’s only a period left. I never realized how much time commercials eat up during NHL games.THIRD PERIOD
With the Americans up 3-0 in the third, the only thing left to determine was if it would be Miller Time for US netminder Ryan Miller.
The Sabres keeper had nine saves through 40 minutes and wasn’t forced to be spectacular and that didn’t change much in the third. What did change is who the majority of fans were cheering for as Swiss became the favourite in the late stages.
Switzerland used the power of the crowd to sneak a shot past Miller halfway through the period. The loudest cheer of the day came after Wick Roman’s goal, it was like the red and white had just netted an overtime winner to capture Gold. The fans went berserk. I guess everyone loves an underdog.
I’m headed down to talk to Kesler about the game, check back for his thoughts on the 3-1 US win in a bit. Click here for Kesler's comments on USA drawing first blood at the Games.