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Expecting the best from United States hockey

Linkski's List

By Justin Maskulinski
On February 24, 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games have been over for a few days now, and the hearts of many American hockey fans are still hurting.

And why wouldn't they be? The amount of heartbreak experienced in three days for this fanbase is unheard of for those who aren't Cleveland or Buffalo fans.

The women's hockey team fell to the Canadians during the preliminary round, 3-2, and the two teams met again the gold medal match.

The thought running through my head as I refreshed Twitter for score updates of the gold medal game rematch was, "don't blow it again."

(Disclaimer: As a Buffalo sports fan, this mentality is ingrained in me, no matter the sporting event or team.)

Sure enough, my thoughts went unheard, and the gold medals went to the country up north.

It is insane to think about how close the women's team was to winning the gold medal. They had a 2-0 lead with under 3:27 to play. Less than 240 seconds.

That's 44 seconds shorter than Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

While I was hoping MU-Wireless wouldn't disconnect, Canada didn't stop believin' and scored with 3:26 remaining to pull within one goal of tying the game. Three minutes and 26 seconds is not a lot of time.

An even shorter amount of time is 1 minute and 35 seconds. At this point, Canada pulled its goalie, and began to look for the tying goal.

With 55 ticks remaining, they found it.

Before that happened, the Americans were inches away from an empty net goal that would have all but knocked the Canadians off their Olympic throne. The clearing attempt that was aided by an in-the-way referee looked like a sure goal before it swerved to the left and hit the post.

Canada, as you know, then scored a goal in overtime.

Now, on to the USA men's hockey team.

They took on the Canadians last Friday, a rematch of the gold medal game from the 2010 Olympics. Canada won the game 1-0.

This one was not nearly as exciting from a fan's perspective. Canada dominated play while the Americans struggled to maintain offensive pressure. The better team (at least on that day) won the game, plain and simple.

After the loss, a feeling of emptiness surfaced.

Canada ripped the hope from the proud hand of American fans (and players) twice in two days. This sounds dramatic, yes, but the way the men's team played in the bronze medal game confirms the impact of the loss.

I'll be 100 percent honest: I did not watch one second of the bronze medal game. Why?

We had already lost in my mind.

The bronze game is exactly what they call it, a consolation game. A way of saying, "Great job, but you fell a little short, so battle it out for third place."

USA didn't even get the shiny brown medal, as it fell to an old, but talented Finland team 5-0.

Mentally, you'd have to be one incredible athlete to forget just how close you were to playing for gold, turn around, and play for bronze less than 24 hours later.

Both USA teams went into the tournament with one thing on their mind: gold medals. Optimism is a great personality trait to have, but no one can convince me that any of the players are happy with the way things ended up.

There is a big difference between happiness and acceptance. And until 2018, that's all we can do; accept it.

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