2014-02-21 03:01 AM
SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- The gold medal game in women's hockey is one of the most anticipated matchups of the Sochi Games, a showdown between the two dominant powers in the sport -- the United States and Canada.
But the atmosphere in the Bolshoy Ice Dome leading up to the game didn't match the hype.
An arena that was on fire when the Russians played was missing a lot of the electricity brought to the ice by Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and the rest of the NHL stars wearing the home red jerseys.
And that's completely understandable.
Sochi organizers estimate at least 70 percent of visitors attending these games are Russian. For many reasons -- political and economic chief among them -- relatively few Americans and Canadians made the trip to Sochi. That means that an arena that was packed tight when the Russian men were in action had a smattering of empty seats for the women's gold medal game.
There were still plenty of Russians in attendance, clearly intrigued by a matchup everyone expected, but likely still emotionally hungover from watching the Russian men get eliminated on Wednesday.
-- By Jon Krawczynski -- Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu