Heartbreak in Buffalo

A weekly Chilliwack Bruins/WHL column by Bruins radio colour man Jacob Bestebroer.

Chilliwack Bruins radio colour man Jacob Bestebroer returns after a well-deserved Christmas break, offering thoughts on Team Canada’s meltdown and the pending Western Hockey League trade deadline.

There are times we see things in sports that are unbelievable. Times we see endings that, had we been watching a movie or reading a book, we would have scoffed at, saying “yeah right, that would never happen.”

Canada’s 5-3 loss to the Russians in the gold medal game at the World Juniors qualifies in every way. Canada led 3-0 after two periods.

There was no way they could blow that lead right?

Wrong.

The Russians got to the gold medal game despite losing their first two games of the tournament. They just squeaked into the playoff round with a final-day win over the Czech Republic. In the quarter-final against Finland they trailed by two late in the third and won in overtime. They tied their semi-final game versus Sweden late in the third and won in a shootout.

This was a Russian team that was not going to quit, and if you’re a fan of Team Canada it was as tough a loss as you will ever see.

If you’re a fan of sports, it’s the reason we keep watching the games.

If, like so many movies, books and TV shows, the endings were predictable, watching sporting events would be boring.

Does anyone enjoy Canada versus Norway or the United States versus Slovakia? Not really, because we know with almost 100 per cent certainty which team will win and that it likely will not be a close game.

Meanwhile, Chilliwack forwards Brandon Magee and Steven Hodges were also involved in international hockey recently, suiting up for Team Pacific at the World U-17 Hockey Challenge.

Magee’s overtime goal gave Team Pacific a win over Quebec in the bronze medal game on Tuesday, and he finished the tournament with five goals in six games.

Hodges scored his lone goal of the tournament in the bronze medal game, and had three assists.

A good showing by both players.

The WHL trade deadline is Monday and we’ve already seen two big deals. Portland swung a deal with Vancouver, picking up 20-year-old Giants captain Craig Cunningham.  Portland paid a steep price, giving up 20-year-old forward Spencer Bennett, 18-year-old forward Teal Burns, a first round pick in 2011 and a second round pick in 2012.

The Hawks also got a sixth round pick from Vancouver.

Not long ago, the Tri-City Americans paid a similar price for 19-year-old forward Carter Ashton from the Regina Pats. Obviously both Portland and Tri-City think they have a real chance to capture junior hockey’s Holy Grail, the Memorial Cup.

With both heavyweights playing in the Western conference, at least one must eventually fail.

Keep an eye on the Bruins website or follow the Bruins on facebook or twitter (@CHWKBRUINS) to see if the Bruins make any adjustments to their lineups.

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