Team Germany did not make it to the quarterfinal round in hockey, but Marcel Goc did get his first opportunity to play in the Olympics. While he has represented his country at the highest levels, including the World Championships and World Cup, the Olympics are and entirely different matter.
Goc and Christian Ehrhoff will fly from Turin, to Paris, to Newark, N.J., to San Jose tomorrow and begin practicing with the Sharks.
“We leave tomorrow and it will be more than 15 hours,” said Goc.
They took advantage of the remaining time in Turin to take in some of the competition.
“Today we went and watched the slalom ski events,” said Goc. “I’ve never seen it live before. It was a great atmosphere with the fans cheering. I’ve watched it on TV before, but never live. About half the team went and then we went to the German House. It was like a big party.”
The German House is where Goc’s countrymen get together to celebrate medal victories. The hockey players who took the bus to the skiing had an hour-and-a-half trip each way.
“It was fun in the village seeing all the athletes,” said Goc. “They were in the same village as the figure skaters and the speed skaters.’
Still, Goc wishes it was his club who faced Sweden in the quarterfinals on Wednesday instead of Switzerland.
“We played all right against the Czechs and Canadians,” said Goc. “In our big games that we needed to win against Italy and Switzerland, we tied.”
It was during the tie with Italy that Goc scored the biggest goal of his international career. Italy had taken a late third period 3-2 lead when Goc retaliated just 15 seconds later.
“My biggest goal was two years ago in the playoffs (he scored the series-clincher against Colorado in the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals) and then my first goal as a professional in Germany,” said Goc. “Then maybe this one.”
Prior to his tally, Goc said the atmosphere in the arena was electric as Italy was posed for a massive upset on their home ice.
“It was unbelievable and hard to play against,” said Goc. “Every time they touched the puck, they crowd went crazy. It was fun to play against.”
Had Germany pulled off victories against Italy and Switzerland, the Swiss would have advanced due to their 2-0 upset of Canada.
“I saw Joe (Thornton) before that game and told him to beat them,” laughed Goc. “If Canada let them win, they should have let us win too.”
Goc did have a bit of a family reunion during the Olympics as he skated with his brother, Sasha (who played in the NHL with New Jersey and Tampa Bay).
“We were roomies and our parents were here for games two, three and four,” said Goc.
Goc hopes to take in one more Olympic moment before he leaves by watching the quarterfinal matchup between rivals Czech and Slovakia.
FINLAND Sharks fans watching the Olympics may have been disappointed in Finland’s 4-3 victory against Team USA, but they may have noticed a familiar name on the game-winning goal. Ville Peltonen batted a loose puck out of the air to score Finland’s fourth tally, advancing his country to the semifinals.