It didn't seem like a prelude to the 1992 Winter Olympics. Four hockey games in four nights, no snow, only a handful of fans, not many jeers, fewer cheers, and a Soviet team dressed in red, white and blue.

But the inaugural USA Cup wasn't meant to be an Olympic preview. Its sole purpose was to give some of the best collegiate hockey talent in the United States a taste of international competition. And even though the U.S. Selects lost, 5-2, to Dynamo Riga of the Soviet Union in the gold-medal game Sunday night, U.S. coach Tim Taylor liked much of what he saw.