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Canada's faithful thrilled after win ; Victory prolongs their stay in Buffalo

The mood was jubilant Sunday night, at least for Canadian fans as they streamed out of HSBC Arena following Team Canada's 4-1 victory over Switzerland in the World Junior Hockey Championship.

"It was fantastic," Max Parker, of Oshawa, Ont., said as he sat in the lobby of Adam's Mark Hotel. "Switzerland came out very strong, but once Canada gained its composure, it was pure dominance."

Parker and his friend Vanessa Cannarella of Whitby, Ont., were trying to figure out if they could stay in town for the next game of the series.

"We're trying to figure out if we should buy tickets for tomorrow's game," Parker said.

But what if Canada had lost Sunday night? "We'd be driving home, infuriated," Cannarella said.

Win or lose, the games have had an impact on restaurants, bars and hotels in downtown Buffalo. But do the teams' losses mean fans pack up and go home?

Not for Eldon Toupin and Jody Short, who traveled to Buffalo from Alberta.

"We're right here until the end," Toupin said. Short, who has been in town since Christmas night, agreed.

"Even if we lost, we still support our team," Short said. "But I wasn't worried, I knew they'd win."

Toupin and Short, like many of the fans, were dressed in the colors of the Canadian flag, wearing the team's jerseys and "Canadian" wigs and face paint.

Toupin also carried a sign he said was a hit with the crowd in the arena that detailed the cost of the hockey tickets, the hotel and taxis and an ever-changing cost for beer, with the final item -- wife at home: priceless.

Just a little farther up the street, Pearl Street Grill & Brewery was hopping Sunday night, as it has been since the start of the 10-day tournament, especially if Canada is on the schedule.

"When Canada is playing, it's the biggest influx of fans," Josh Ketry, Pearl Street's manager, said Sunday night. "When I make the schedule, I look to see when Canada is playing.

Ketry said the restaurant didn't book any banquets for the duration of the tournament.

When asked what impact the tournament has had on business, he didn't hesitate.

"It's busy," he said. "The busiest week of all. I anticipate it's going to be busier."

Jay Cox of Toronto, who is in town for two days, said he would have stayed regardless of the outcome of the game.

"It would have made it less happy if we'd lost," he acknowledged. "It's a lot more fun looking at tomorrow night. If we win, it's an exciting ride home."

Trevor Franklin of Drayton, Ont., also planned on staying if the team had lost.

"We were staying regardless, but we're a lot more pumped up because of the win," he said.

His friend Jason Jack, also of Drayton, disagreed.

"We were going to shred the tickets if we lost," he said.

e-mail: hjones@buffnews.com