I am officially hooked on USA hockey. When the United States took the ice last Tuesday and was ready to cheer on the team but had no real expectations heading in. It was a team full of NHL players that had talent but not as much as Canada and Russia. A week later, I am totally committed to this hockey team.
The United States beat a gutsy Switzerland team this afternoon with Zach Parise scoring the only two goals in the game. His first goal was a tip off a shot from Brian Rafalski while on the power play and the second was an empty net goal with less than 15 seconds left in the game.
Why did it take a 2-0 win in a game against a team USA had already beat for me to commit myself to the team? I realized something important today, something I should have realized during the Canada game. This team is not the most talented team in the tournament but most of them are willing to pay the price to win. They have a desire that most of the more talented teams seem to be lacking.
When the United States and Canada played on Sunday, it was the talent of Canada tat dominated play most of the way. The problem for Canada was the desire of the United States won the hockey game. Look no further than the empty net goal from Ryan Kesler, he just wanted to get to the puck more than Corey Perry and it showed when the puck crossed the line and sealed the USA victory.
This afternoon it was gutsy defense that seen everyone on the team diving in front of shots that made the difference for the Americans. Ryan Miller was good when he needed to but the team in front of him made his job an easy one. This team seems to do whatever it takes to win.
The Americans will be back on the ice on Friday at 3 p.m. against either Finland or Czech Republic. A Win will put them in the gold medal game and a loss will send them to the bronze medal game. One win will guarantee a medal and two wins would be the gold.
I never expected a potential gold medal when the tournament began and now I think anything is possible.