Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta dressed for his first Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Thursday at Nationals Park, backing up starter Corey Crawford against the Washington Capitals.
The Blackhawks were defeated 3-2 on a goal by Troy Brouwer with 13 second remaining in the game. In his final blog from the Winter Classic, Raanta discusses the magic leading to the game as well as the disappointment of the last minute loss.
WASHINGTON -- It was a special day to be part of the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. We woke up at 9 a.m. and had a good breakfast before we started to make the trip here to the stadium.
You could really feel that everyone was excited about the game on the way over here. When we came here and had time for some pre-game warmups, we decided to play soccer outside on the field. That was a great feeling. We could see the fans were showing up early and ready for the game.
When we started to put our gear on in the locker room it was a lot of excitement. Once we had everything ready, we went to the ice for the warmup.
It was pretty hard for the goalies during warmups because the sun was shining in our end and then it was coming from the ice. I was wondering how [Corey Crawford] was going to do there. When you got used to that, it turned out to be pretty fun. You could see the puck pretty well, so it wasn’t too bad.
After the warmup, we just came back to the locker room. Then, we walked around the stadium to get to the ice from the outfield. When we got out there, the two F-18 Hornets made the [flyover] and that was really fun. You could feel the power that those things have. My whole body was shaking a little bit after that. That was a great feeling.
When the game started, everybody was ready to play. I think we started playing pretty good, but Washington got a couple of chances. They got a breakaway and a goal there so they had a little momentum.
We changed the sides after 10 minutes and it changed the game a little bit. I think we were playing pretty good in the last 10 minutes and got one goal back.
The second period was really good for us. We had the second goal and that was huge for us.
It was a tough way to end the game. Both teams had chances in the third period, but then Washington got the late winner. It was a disappointment. It is always hard to lose a game late like that and we had those penalties going on there.
Right now we’re just thinking about losing the two points, so it is not a great feeling. It was a tough loss but overall it was a really great day.