It was "Victory Day" in Russia and several associated countries who were part of the effort to defeat Hitler's Germany in World War II. But in Belarus, where the IIHF World Championship opened today, those pesky Americans spoiled the party.
We note it because two New York Islanders -- Brock Nelson, who opened scoring, and Colin McDonald -- were among the U.S. scorers in a 6-1 rout. We expand on it because the IIHF recap is filled with host-friendly language:
Belarus has waited a long time to welcome the world to an event of this scale and the home team was determined to ensure its efforts did not go unnoticed on or off the ice.
A day of patriotic song and dance outside the Minsk Arena, combining the annual Victory Day celebrations with opening night excitement, helped to whip a big home crowd into a fervour before the puck was dropped.
And that energy from the stands inspired team Belarus to a lively start against a youthful and inexperienced American roster that found itself facing a storm of passion.
Somehow, fueled by make great glorious patriotic effort of their own, the brave Americans heroically fought through the storm of passionate aggression from the hosts to extend the lead to 4-0 on McDonald's goal, ultimately winning 6-1.
Yes, the manly Belorussians rudely robbed Nelson of the prestigious honor of a game-winning goal when they ferociously scored shortly before the end of the second period which will live in infamy. Back to the recap:
At least there was a champagne moment for the home support to savour on the final play of the second session when Stepanov finally got the goal his efforts deserved. A lovely bit of tic-tac-toe from his linemates saw Grabovski deliver a perfectly-weighted pass out in front of the net and the Amur Khabarovsk forward drilled home the hosts' first marker of the competition.
In other games, the Czechs beat their Slovak brothers 3-2, Canada was upset by France 3-2, and a tragically Nino-less Switzerland was devoured 5-0 by Russia. The Americans play again tomorrow against Switzerland, where they must conjure hatred and partisanship in the face of stubborn neutrality.