What a game to close the Olympics. Although Team USA hung in with the superstar-heavy Canadian hockey team, things looked bleak in the third period. Trailing 2-1 with 90 seconds left, the American squad pulled their goalie to add another attacker. In a desperate melee with 10 seconds left, the puck found the back of the net and we were miraculously heading to overtime. Several bars and restaurants downtown blasted the game from outdoor speakers here in Ottawa and just about everyone on the street wore team jerseys and/or sported red and white face paint. At the end of regulation, you could here a pin drop. Team USA had just shot Canada’s dog.
The drama continued into the overtime with both teams pressing in a 4-on-4, 20-minute, sudden death contest for everything. When Sidney Crosby knocked in the golden goal, the place went nuts. I don’t mean just the “barn” in Vancouver where the match was played before a rabid Canadian crowd. I mean everywhere north of the border. Here in Ottawa, thousands of miles away, people swarmed the streets screaming and shouting. An impromptu “Oh Canada” sing-along broke out in the ByWard Market.
As I write this, the game ended over 1/2 hour ago and the medals have been presented to each player. The car horns, screams, and shouts in the street, however, show no signs of letting up. Just as Team USA took a collective knee on the ice and watched the celebration, I watched the celebration from my chilly balcony. Canada is Hockey. They were the better team, they stepped up when it counted, and they deserved the gold. What a perfect end to the Vancouver games for the home team.