The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics went out with a bang yesterday, even before the closing ceremonies.

The real culmination of the world-class athletic battles was the gold-medal hockey game between Canada and the United States, which ended 3-2 nearly halfway into overtime, when Canada’s Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner against U.S. goaltender Ryan Miller (recap via ESPN).

Colorado Avalanche fans were probably hoping their Olympic star, Paul Stastny, would see more action. But the highest-paid Avalanche player had a rather uneventful Olympics, scoring a goal and adding two assists in the U.S.’s six games. Still, Stastny considers the silver medal and his place on perhaps one of the best international hockey games ever a win for him, his team, and the NHL, writes The Denver Post.

There’s been talk that the NHL doesn’t want to participate in future Winter Games, but don’t tell that to Stastny.

“I’m pretty sure a lot of people are watching,” he says. “It’s a good way to grow the sport and show it off to the rest of the world besides Canada.”

Stastny won’t have a lot of time to savor his silver medal. He’ll be back on the ice for the Avalanche tonight against the Red Wings, the first and only NHL game scheduled for the day after the Olympics ended, perhaps in the hopes of cashing in on the Olympic success and to showcase a once-potent rivalry, notes the Post.

Meanwhile, Denver hockey fans have other reasons to be happy. The University of Denver Pioneers locked up their first regular-season title since 2005 over the weekend, beating Minnesota State 4-3 in overtime (via The Denver Post). The Pioneers are ranked as the number one college hockey team in the country and will close out the regular season against Colorado College in a home-and-home series next weekend.