Canadian crowds continue to chirp Team U.S.A.

Team USA's J.T. Miller and Stephen Johns after losing to the Czech Republic during World Junior...

Team USA's J.T. Miller and Stephen Johns after losing to the Czech Republic during World Junior hockey action at Rexall Place in Edmonton Alberta, on Dec. 30, 2011. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI AGENCY)

Jason Hills, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:48 PM ET

Nobody on Team U.S.A. is about to give the rabid Canadian fans any credit for their disappointing results through round-robin play.

The chorus of boos from the hockey-crazy Canadian fans have followed the Americans from the moment they stepped out on to the ice against Denmark on Boxing Day.

It amped up even more against the Finns leading to their stunning upset Wednesday against the United States. Friday's even bigger upset at the hands of the Czech Republic, that will likely push the Americans into the relegation round for the first time since 1999, had the fans at Rexall Place rockin'.

"Clearly you saw the crowd didn't effect how we played, we still stuck it to them We got more chances than we did all tournament (against the Czech Republic), but this is disappointing," said a dejected J.T. Miller.

The U.S. did their best to try and relish the role of 'everybody is against us' attitude all week. They were using it as motivation, they knew the boos and jeers wouldn't stop coming their way.

They did their best to try and block it out, but they ran into two hot goaltenders -- Sami Aittokallio, who made 37 saves in a 4-1 win, and then Petr Mrazek, with a 52-save performance in the Czecha' 5-2 win.

Maybe it's not so much a case of the Americans not being able to handle the rowdy fans, as it is the other countries like Finland and Czech Republic feeding off the energy in the building.

"I wanted the fans to really be able to stand up and cheer, and we were able to make 16,000 people stand up and cheer, and it's an incredible feeling," said Mrazek with a smile.

"I played the best game of my life."

For a team like Denmark, who was has been the perennial underdog in this tournament, it blew the players away how the crowd got behind them against the U.S on Boxing Day.

"Coming into the game and having the fans cheer like that for us, we had no idea. We thought because nobody knew many of our players, we'd get more boos against us, but it was crazy, the atmosphere," said Denmark's Nicklas Jensen after the Americans destroyed the Danes 11-3 to start their WJHC.

"They were booing them, and cheering us, and it really felt like we were playing in front of a home rink. The only difference was that for almost all of our players have never played in front of crowds like that (16,000). We might be lucky to play in front of 3,500 people."

The Americans' hopes of winning a medal are now dashed. They can't even spoil Team Canada's partyin the New Year's Eve game that has proven to have many different fireworks over the years.

"If we think this is bad for us when it comes to atmosphere "¦ when it comes to Saturday, we won't even be able to put it into words," said Emerson Etem, who plays in Rexall Place a few times a year as a member of the Medicine Hat Tigers.

U.S. forward Bill Arnold knows that no matter what's at stake, a game against Canada and the U.S. is going to be big.

"It means everything. We've got to come out and give everything we've got to beat Canada, because nobody wants to lose to them," said Arnold.

"Our results in this tournament have been extremely disappointing, but we'd want nothing more than to beat Canada."

jason.hills@sunmedia.ca


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