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Darren McCord (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is a Canadian-born firefighter with the Pittsburgh Fire Bureau who suffered a personal crisis after he was unable to save a young girl from a house fire. Now removed from active duty, Darren is the fire marshal for the Civic Arena.
While attending Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks with his daughter Emily (Whittni Wright) and his son Tyler (Ross Malinger), he discovers a crime operation occurring in the arena. Soon a gang of bloodthirsty terrorists led by former US government employee and fired CIA operative Joshua Foss (Powers Boothe) is holding U.S. Vice President Daniel Binder (Raymond J. Barry) and several other VIPs hostage in a luxury suite.
Foss has the arena wired with explosives, and plans to blow it up at the end of the game while having hundreds of millions of dollars wired into several off shore accounts. Darren must not just stop Foss, but somehow send the game into overtime and rescues both his son and daughter simultaneously.
Darren is first pulled into the plot when Emily is kidnapped by Carla, the sole female member of the terrorists dressed as the mascot Iceburgh. She witnesses Carla murder numerous people, and is spared when she runs out of ammunition. Carla places Emily in the suite with the other hostages about to be executed. Darren, who had given pursuit, is left to search in vain. Realizing she has been "made", Carla returns to deal with Darren and starts a fight in the stadium's kitchen. He proves to be more than a match for Carla, murdering her by kicking her into a large dishwasher, which pulls on her penguin's head strap and destroys her neck.
Darren finds a security guard, but this man is a hostile in disguise. He gets the upper hand and forces information out of the thug before stabbing him in the neck. Darren heads up to the executive offices and finds a mobile phone, with which he calls the police. They put him in touch with Secret Service Agent Matthew Hallmark (Dorian Harewood), who advises Darren to stand by while the agents take charge. He angrily refuses, saying that he will handle this himself. And so the security guard attempts to obliterate Darren himself but Darren turns the table on him by humiliating him using a chicken bone on a plate, hitting it on the stove he found it on, which resulted in the round part getting separated, then flung it into the side of his neck causing him to die.
The Secret Service and the Pittsburgh Police team up to surround the arena and a standoff ensues. Meanwhile, Darren manages to find a few of the bombs and disarm them, whilst Foss goes about killing several hostages after the 2nd period ends. Agent Hallmark finally makes his way inside and meets with Darren, who explains where the rest of the bombs are most likely located. It is then revealed that Hallmark is in League with Foss, and tries to kidnap Tyler, but fails. Hallmark then reveals his true self to Darren, and Darren burns him alive. Darren then uses Hallmark's phone to contact Foss, who taunts him with the news that he is holding his daughter captive.
As time quickly ticks down, Darren manages to disable more bombs, but is severely slowed by confrontations with Foss' men. At one point, the fire marshal must pretend to be the Pittsburgh goalie to escape the thugs and ends up successfully defending a shot. The third period runs down, and with the Penguins down by one goal, Luc Robitaille scores the equalizer in the last second, bringing the game to sudden death and prolonging the game, but only until the next goal is scored. Darren decides that there's no time left to find the remaining bombs and climbs up to the roof of the arena. He advances upon the owner's box from above and forces his way in, rescuing Emily and the remaining hostages.
Meanwhile, Foss manages to escape and blend in with the chaos that has ensued by one of Foss' henchmen falling from the roof through the score display and blowing it up. Foss sets off one of the bombs, flooding part of the arena, and recaptures Emily when she recognizes him. They head up towards the top of the arena, where a helicopter is waiting to lift Foss away. Darren intervenes and saves his daughter. Foss flees, and a wounded Darren shoots the pilot through the floor. The pilot falls back taking the joystick with him, stalling out the chopper and a screaming Foss is killed as the chopper goes into the arena and explodes on impact with the ice.
Darren is led to a waiting ambulance while and his son and daughter comment to the paramedics about how their father is a hero. Tyler had previously told Emily that their father was too scared to be a fireman again. A contented Darren is put inside the ambulance as the film ends.