SOCHI, Russia – The prospect of missing out on the medal stand in men's hockey in Sochi is starting to set in on Russia fans and players.
Long faces could be seen throughout the crowd Wednesday as Finland led midway through the third period, 3-1.
Spontaneous chants of "Ro-ssi-ya" were quieter and less frequent, and a group of about a dozen fans in one corner of the arena failed at starting the wave.
On the ice, play is getting more aggressive, with unnecessary checks and obvious trash talk between players. Olympic rules have probably stopped at least two fights from starting.
At a break with just under 7 minutes left, only about one-quarter of fans joined in the rhythmic clapping urged by an organ.
The only two things getting louder: Finland fans and unmistakable muttering that in any language translates roughly to: "Is this really happening?"
— By Oskar Garcia — Twitter http://twitter.com/oskargarcia
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