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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vancouver 2010: Canada vs. U.S Hockey Match

Great Moment in Canada vs U.S

9:30 p.m. ET -- Huge boos as another penalty called on Canada and the U.S. returns to the power play. Not quite nervous time at Molson, but clearly the U.S. is giving a better showing than the home crowd would like.

9:27 p.m. ET -- Big cheers and whistles as Canada kills of the power play and even bigger cheers as Crosby has a nice chance, but all for naught.

9:24 p.m. ET -- For the third period in a row US starts with the first flurry. And Crosby picks up a penalty at 1:44 of the third.

9:20 p.m. ET -- Stewart leads crowd in cheer of "Go Canada Go" before wrapping up. On to the third period.

9:10 p.m. ET -- "We may be down but we are outshooting them," said Tyler Stewart, the short bald drummer from the Barenaked Ladies, who is in a side band called the Black Aces. "We fight hard."

9:07 p.m. ET -- Staal picks up a holding penalty, the first of the second period as he takes down Rafalski, though the call was unpopular here after the refs had thus far let both teams play. The second period ends, but the power play will carryover into the final period.

9:04 p.m. ET -- After allowing the third goal on just 15 shots, Brodeur stops two U.S. breakaways getting the Molson crowd back into it.

9:03 p.m. ET -- After some bumping with Brodeur. The U.S. scores, giving the U.S. its third lead of the night and again momentarily quieting the Molson crowd. USA 3, CANADA 2

8:53 p.m. ET -- During a media timeout I talked with fan Heather Roundsky of Lindsay, Ontario who said the game is phenomenal, but said she wasn't worried by early U.S. lead. "The boys have it in 'em" she said. "They'll do it and get the job done." Meanwhile, the crowd applause the introduction of a VIP in attendance Michael Peca from the 2002 Team Canada team which won the gold.

8:47 p.m. ET -- The crowd at Molson is taunting U.S. goalie Ryan Miller. We're only a couple blocks from Canada Hockey Place and it's so loud here it's hard to be sure if he can't hear the crowd.

8:44 p.m. ET -- Not that they ever got too quiet, the crowd at Molson is back into it, stomping and cheering during a hockey-themed commercial.

8:40 p.m. ET -- Canada ties it up on a shot by Heatley and the place goes nuts. USA 2, CANADA 2

8:35 p.m. ET -- Back to live action as the second period gets under way and again the U.S. gets the first chance.

8:32 p.m. ET -- And surprise guest between periods -- Canadian gold medal winning snowboarder Maelle Ricker. They are now playing Ricker's medal ceremony, which naturally provides a good excuse to play Canadian anthem. Crowd sings along as we get ready for the second period of hockey.

8:21 p.m. ET -- Last minute of the first. Canada has a couple more chances and one of their player goes down. All the referees at Molson wanted a penalty, but no call from those on the ice. USA goes to dressing room up 2-1 despite being outshot more than three to one. The host is back out trying to keep the crowd pumped, showing highlights of Canada's gold medal winning efforts at the Games.

8:10 p.m. ET -- Patrick Marleau had a great chance but Ryan Miller stoned him eliciting the expected groans at Molson.

8:07 p.m. ET -- Lots of end-to-end action and some huge hits have this crowd on pins and needles and it's only just over halfway through the first period.

8:02 p.m. ET -- But then just moments later(22 seconds) Team USA responds with a goal of its own, again quieting things as the US goes back on top 2-1. Goal to Rafalski, his second of the game. USA 2, CANADA 1

8:01 p.m. ET -- Several good chances for Team Canada on the power play but none convert. Moments after it expires, Canada scores, prompting enormous cheers. USA 1, CANADA 1

7:56 p.m. ET -- Now, in a much more popular call here, Team Canada is getting its first power play as USA gets called for high sticking. Joe Pavelski did clock Ryan Getzlaf pretty good as the replay shows.

7:54 p.m. ET -- "There's plenty of time," said one Canada fan, Bill Burns. "It was just surprising they would score so early. I didn't expect anyone would score that early." The first penalty goes against Canada -- Ryan Getzlaf for goalie interference, needless to say an unpopular call here.

7:47 p.m. ET -- And the crowd is even more upset just seconds later as the USA puts the puck in the net taking a 1-0 lead just 41 seconds in. USA 1, CANADA 0

7:46 p.m. ET -- The US gets the first shot, forcing Brodeur to make the first save and momentarily quieting the crowd.

7:45 p.m. ET -- It's just warm-ups and a continuous chant of "Go Canada Go" has begun. As they show team USA, the onstage host says "polite applause, polite applause, that's what we do." The USA is wearing throwback jerseys reminiscent of the ones it wore 30 years ago in its 1980 Miracle On Ice upset of the Soviet Union. Some boos start. "Don't boo the Americans, pity them," the white suit wearing host says. Now the puck drop.
7:35 p.m. ET -- No hockey yet. Still watching speed skating. Final speedskating pair in the women's 1500m. An American, who draws boos and a Canadian. A proxy for the game? Canada ends up with a Silver I think, but can't hear over this crowd. Yep. Kristina Groves takes silver. Now on to the main event. Feet stomp as we go to hockey. Puck drop at 7:40 p.m. ET, we're told. Live feed not on yet.

7:28 p.m. ET -- We're watching Canadian Kristina Groves in the ladies 1500m speedskating final. It may not be hockey, but the Canadian woman is getting some loud cheers as she takes off. She's narrowly in the lead at the first split time. Huge cheers. The lead is bigger still with two laps to go. I can only imagine what the sound will be when game gets going. Deafening roar as she leads in final lap. "Go go go go," cheers the crowd. She slows a bit at the end, moving into second place with one pair to go, still getting cheers.

7:20 p.m. ET -- Look back there, there's one man in a USA jersey," the onstage host says. "Booooooo," roars the crowd "Slay him my minions," the host intones. Since this is the peace-loving nation of Canada people just laugh. Were this contest being held in Detroit, there might be a Canadian body by now. Even still, I worry a little for that guy's safety.

6:52 p.m. ET -- "Today is the day the USA stops winning medals," promised the live host, kicking off the hour-long countdown to the big game. On my way past Canada Hockey Place, site of the game itself, I ran into Matt Antosik of San Francisco, who was hoping against hope to land a ticket to the big game. "Just looking for one," he told passersby. "Not a scalper just a fan." The same technique landed him a free ticket to see Canada take on Norway, but he said he knows the odds are longer this time around. "This game is nearly impossible," he said. Then again, he said, Everyone was making fun of me last time and then it worked."

6:35 p.m. ET -- It's an hour until game time and the atmosphere is already beyond electric as the U.S. Is set to take on Canada in men's hockey. Although just a preliminary match, this game has taken on all the importance of a medal game. Some three hours before game time sporadic chants of "Go, Canada, Go" could be heard downtown. It's barely an exaggeration to say all of Canada will be watching. I'm live from the Molson Canadian Hockey House, a hockey themed pavilion adjacent to where the game is being played. Molson has already sold out with more than 2,000 paying just to see the game on the big screen here.

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