Just one day after losing a heartbreaker to Canada, the American hockey team had to take on Finland for the bronze medal and just couldn’t overcome some early mistakes to fall 5-0.
Teemu Selanne played a brilliant game to help the Finnish earn the bronze, while the Americans got dejected early on and played like it to cause their issues.
With just one game left, find out how the schedule for the remainder of the hockey tournament looks and how Finland claimed its bronze.
|Remaining Games in Hockey Tournament|
|Gold Medal Game||Canada vs. Sweden||Sun. Feb. 23 7 a.m. ET|
Bronze Medal Game Recap
Each team showed the early effects of fatigue, as neither team was particularly sharp to start with.
Both teams were held scoreless in an uneven first period, but the squads weren’t without their chances.
Patrick Kane got a chance late in the period with a penalty shot. He went from forehand to backhand with a nifty move, but he couldn’t get above goalie Tuukka Rask and the shot went outside the net.
However, the shot really could’ve been executed much better at the end, as NBC’s Dan Marrazza noted.
The Americans carried a power play from the end of the first over into the second period, but they couldn’t capitalize.
Then, disaster struck early in the second for Team USA.
Roughly a minute and a half into the period, the puck bounced off a linesman, starting a breakaway.
From there, some nifty passing helped Teemu Selanne beat goalie Jonathan Quick on a nice backhand to make it 1-0, as the Anaheim Ducks' Twitter explained.
Just 11 seconds later, Ryan McDonagh misread a play at center ice, allowing Jori Lehtera to start a two-on-one rush against Ryan Suter.
Despite Suter’s solid effort, Lehtera made a perfect pass to Jussi Jokinen for another crushing score to go up 2-0.
But the Americans kept getting good opportunities. A broken stick gave Kane another penalty shot attempt, but he still couldn’t find the back of the net.
He beat Rask cleanly, but his shot went off the left post, leaving Kane frustrated.
He’s had a brutal Olympics, failing to score in the duration of the games, and his frustration on the ice was visible.
“You’re always looking to do more when it’s not going in the net, but I”m just trying to get the shot through, get them on net, and see what happens,” he told Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times before the game.
Things only got worse for Kane from there, as he got called for a penalty that allowed Juuso Hietanen to score on the ensuing power play, as NBC Sports noted.
Finland poured it on with another power-play goal to make it 4-0, this time courtesy of Selanne on his farewell tour on the international stage.
The Americans just couldn't stop the bleeding after that, taking another penalty that Olli Maatta took advantage of to make it 5-0.
The bronze marks Finland's 20th Olympic win since 1998, a mark exceeded only by Canada in that span.
All this proves that Finland shouldn't be taken lightly going forward.
The Finns will be without Selanne in 2018 (although the ageless star could likely just keep playing until he's 50 at this point), but they've got the young talent to stay competitive for years now.
Rask isn't going anywhere, and Maatta looks like an absolute star in the making.
South Korea might not be as close to home as Sochi was, but Finland proved it deserves real medal consideration in 2018 prognostications.