There may still be leaves on the trees, but hockey is back!
The World Cup of Hockey 2004 is on... And the highly anticipated game between Canada and the United States has just wrapped up with the Boys from the Great White North edging out the Yanks by a score of 2 to 1. This puts Canada in first place (for now) in the North American Pool, while Sweden and Finland, long-time hockey powerhouses, are tied for first in the European Pool.
As a Canadian, it was a thrill to see Canada beat the U.S. for the gold medal in the last Winter Olympics, and that feeling came rushing back tonight... It almost eases the pain of only securing 12 medals in Athens while the States dominated with 103. But enough about such silly things... Let's talk hockey!
Canada took to the ice tonight in replica vintage jerseys in honor of the Winnipeg Falcons, the first Canadian gold medalists in 1920 at Antwerp, Belgium. The uncharacteristic yellow trimmed in black was in stark contrast to the beloved red-and-white, but it did serve the purpose of reminding us of our past and where the great sport of hockey was born.
Martin St. Louis, the bane of the red hot Calgary Flames in last season's Stanley Cup nail-biter, opened the scoring for Canada with just 4 minutes left in the first period, and Joe Sakic made it 2-0 just 3 minutes into the second. The U.S. finally managed to make it onto the board halfway through the second, thanks to Bill Guerin, and, while it did ignite the team, it proved to be too little too late.
Both goalies made outstanding saves to keep the scores low and the match close, with Robert Esche for the U.S. showing off near-acrobatic maneuvers in his crease.
Canada can enjoy this victory, but only for a short time as they face Slovakia tomorrow night. But enjoy it we will!