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USA Thought it Had Chance, Ends Up Devastated

VANCOUVER - U.S. defenseman Jack Johnson made it clear he felt as if his team's best effort had been wasted on the worst result he might know as a player.

"It's devastating," he said. "The biggest reward in all of sports slips through your fingers at the end."

The Americans had erased a two-goal deficit to tie the game on Zach Parise's goal with 25 seconds left only to lose it in overtime on a goal by Sidney Crosby.

It was hard for the Americans to see the value of a silver when they believed they had played well enough to win gold.

"I thought we deserved better," said U.S. player Ryan Kesler, whose second-period goal started the USA's comeback. "That's what happens in overtime. You get one lucky break and you capitalize. That's overtime."

U.S. defenseman Erik Johnson said the loss a "complete disappointment" because "we thought we had them on the ropes. The way they had the lead and we tied it up. We thought we had all of the momentum going into overtime."

Although the Americans were considered too young and too small coming into the tournament, they believed they were the best team. The Americans had defeated Canada 5-3 earlier in the tournament.

"We thought before the game, during the game, that we were going to win," Parise said.

Before giving up the overtime goal, U.S. goalie Ryan Miller had yielded two goals in 81/2 periods of work in the quarterfinal, semifinal and gold-medal game.

"We had the best goalie in the world behind, we had all of the confidence going into overtime," Jack Johnson said.

Wilson said Canada played a great game but added: "I think we played an equally great game."

"It's tough to lose a game that way," he said. "I couldn't have asked for more from our players."

U.S. player Ryan Malone pointed out that it was an even game until it was decided by a "great play by two great players.'"

Jarome Iginla and Crosby collaborated on the winning goal, working a give-and-go to perfection with Crosby beating Miller.

"Sudden death stings, especially in this situation," Miller said.

Malone said he might appreciate the silver medal after his career is over. "But right now we know we came for the gold and we are disappointed," he said.

Jack Johnson said he'll leave the Games with overwhelming respect for his U.S. teammates.

"I wish," said Johnson, "that I could play with these guys year round because it's the most fun I've ever had playing hockey."

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