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Jason Bryer, left, and Jeremy Pafundi react at they watch a replay of the only team Canada goal against the USA in the Sochi Olympics semifinal match at the Cask 'n Flagon Restaurant and Sports Bar in Marshfield, Mass., Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Casnada won 1-0. (Stephan Savoia/AP)
Jason Bryer, left, and Jeremy Pafundi react at they watch a replay of the only team Canada goal against the USA in the Sochi Olympics semifinal match at the Cask 'n Flagon Restaurant and Sports Bar in Marshfield, Mass., Friday, Feb. 21, 2014. Casnada won 1-0. (Stephan Savoia/AP)

Tough loss for U.S. hockey fans Add to ...

At the Blue Line, the only hockey bar in Kansas City, the blue-sky Friday morning began with hope, and a sign taped to the door: “When a great moment in American history happens, would you rather be at work or at the Blue Line watching it happen?”

The bar – capacity 100 – was packed a half-hour before the 11 a.m. (local time) puck drop for the U.S.-Canada men’s 2014 Olympic semi-final game. And by the time the United States nearly scored in the first period, stymied by a wicked Carey Price glove save, there was no room to move, capacity exceeded.

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The save was, briefly, mistaken for a goal. Joy washed over the crowd and a red goal light flared behind the bar.

But at the end of 60 minutes, for the second day in a row (following the American women’s loss to Canada in Sochi), U.S. hockey fans at the Blue Line took the gut punch of defeat.

“It’s not a blowout – but it feels that way,” 32-year-old photographer Jeff Evrard said with five minutes left in the game. “The whole bar does.”

There were late spikes of urging cheers – “USA! USA!” with 1 minutes 20 seconds to go – but the final buzzer chimed with the certainty of death and taxes. Canada 1, Unites States 0. One wag shouted: “Turn it to NASCAR!”

Spirits, however, began to revive, as the bar remained packed: nothing like drinking on a sunny Friday afternoon.

The Blue Line, opened a couple years ago, forges on, one game at a time. First up, USA versus Finland for the bronze on Saturday, and then opening at 6 a.m. CT on Sunday for the Canada-Sweden‎ gold medal game: it is a non-denominational hockey bar, even if America is the home team.

 And there remains hope for a National Hockey League home team, a potential Kansas City expansion squad. The Stanley Cup has already visited the Blue Line, last year, so hope lives.

"We're hoping," said Shirley Stegall, a co-owner. "It would be awesome."

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