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Day 2 News and Notes

by Anthony Oliva / New Jersey Devils
Two days in the books, and the most competitive hockey game has been the ladies of Finland (wo)manhandling the Russians at UBC Thunderbird Arena this afternoon.  (From here on out, any references to time of day should be considered Pacific Standard Time.)

Day 2: UBC Thunderbird Arena
When a 5-1 win in which the victors outshot their opponents 34-14 is the closest game you've seen, that's a problem. Of the three games I went to (also including the noon tilt between the USA and China), the aggregate score has been 35-2. Thirty-five. To. Two.  Fortunately, the crowds aren't as discriminating as I am:

• A spirited Thunderbird Arena, home of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds, was involved and excitable during USA vs China from the drop of the first puck to the very last horn of the game.  About midway through the 3rd period, there was a lengthy alternating chant of "USA!" "China!"  It really seemed that the supporters of both countries didn't want to be the side that let up and let the chant die.  A gasp-worthy play on ice did eventually end the chant, though.  It was impressive to hear the Chinese supporters – many of them Canadian – so vociferous while down 9-0, 10-0, near the end of the game.

• With the exception of a small group at the top of section 115, the crowd at the Finland vs Russia game – also at UBC Arena – was decidely not split, favoring the Finns.  A woman draped from head to toe in Canadian gear told me, "When Canada isn't playing, we root for Finland," and gestured to her small son clinging to her leg.  When I asked why, she inexplicably answered, "Because Canada isn't playing."  Okay.

• Vice President Joe Biden was in the house during the USA/China game, sitting in a largely empty section cordoned off by the Secret Service.  The crowd gave him a mixed reaction when his presence was noted in-arena.  Devils fans will recognize the only person to get close to the VP: Cameron Hughes, the crazy tee shirt-tossing, dancing fool sometimes seen at the Rock.  Biden kept the sweaty tee shirt thrown his way.

• Fans erupted into spontaneous roaring midway through the third period of Finland's win over Russia.  They had just heard that Canada had finally won it's first gold medal on home soil, thanks to the now-immortalized Alexandre Bilodeau, who won the men's moguls in skiing.

• I love saying UBC Thunderbird Arena.

• It's been incredibly warm up here.  It's felt more like a mid-spring day in Jersey than a mid-February afternoon at the Winter Olympics.  Good thing there's no outdoor Olympic hockey.

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