The crowd was electric, the hits were hard, and the intensity was in full force as Canada soldiered on for their quest for gold. Canada scored early in the first period and never looked back as they continued to score 3 more goals to make it a 4-1 decision. Team USA's goaltender, Jack Campbell was strong in net, making several brilliant saves, but Canada's strong defensive play prevented Team USA from scoring any goals until Chris Brown scored late in the third period to spoil Canada goaltender Mark Visentin's shutout.
Entering the arena I was greeted with thousands of excited fans awaiting puck drop. Waves of both USA and Canada chants were heard throughout the hallways, and by the time people were in their seats, the noise from the crowd was deafening.
Minutes before puck drop.
Canada's faithful fans filled the arena in a sea of red and white, with many waving Canadian flags with maple leafs painted on their face. While USA fans were largely outnumbered, the fans that were in attendance were passionate and were eager to support their team.
American fan cheering on Team USA.
Canadian fans celebrating Canada's first goal.
The atmosphere was generally friendly, with a few insults and jabs thrown sporadically throughout the game, although I'm sure things would have been more hostile if the score had been reversed.
I saw my uncle Bill who works as an usher at the HSBC Arena and he was excited to see the game. He said that it's been a lot of fun working during the World Juniors, and that all the Canadian fans that have come out for the tournament have really made it an exciting event.
My uncle Bill working the game.
I also bumped into a young woman named Amanda who told me that she reads this blog and that she's been enjoying the coverage of the tournament, which was real nice to hear. Although Amanda is a USA fan, I hope she had a nice time at the game!
Canadian fans sing along to Canada's national anthem after the game.
While beating Team USA is a huge step in Canada's quest for the gold medal, they will have a challenge ahead of them as they will take on Russia for gold. Russia has shown tremendous perseverance in the tournament and will surely be up to the task to try and take the gold. The USA still has a chance to medal in the tournament, as they will face off against Sweden for the bronze medal.