SOCHI, Russia ― This here was overwrought. This Bolshoy Ice Dome ― from the stands to the bench, from the Russian president high above to the stadium workers who had left their posts and flooded the aisles to watch ― had fallen into a collective madhouse of edginess.
Nearly 12,000 had secured precious tickets, yet here with the game on the line, with USA vs. Russia going deeper and deeper into penalty shots, harder and harder into history, back and forth and back again, some fans covered their eyes because to see was almost too much. Others simply screamed like they were about to witness a car wreck.
On the U.S. bench, coach Dan Bylsma felt every bit of the pressure ― "I aged a couple years," he'd say later. Forward Max Pacioretty said watching was so intense that "I almost had a heart attack." These games, these opportunities are overwhelming and rare. Here was a chance to beat Russia in Russia with the whole world watching.
[Photos: U.S. beats Russia in hockey shootout]
So BylsmaRead More »from T.J. Oshie: The new American hero