Finland Takes Hockey Bronze 5-0 to Send U.S. Home Empty-Handed
Finland captured the men’s hockey bronze medal with a 5-0 win against the U.S., which came to the Sochi Olympics seeking gold and went home empty-handed.
The Finns, who now have won a men’s hockey medal in five of the last six Winter Games, got two goals from 43-year-old Teemu Selanne -- who was playing in his sixth Olympics.
Selanne became the oldest medal winner in Olympic hockey history, as well as the oldest goalscorer. He and Finnish teammate Kimmo Timonen won a record-tying fourth medal.
“I’m so happy that the game was pretty much over in the third, so I could enjoy every second,” said Selanne, who plays for the National Hockey League’s Anaheim Ducks. “Twenty-six years ago I played my first national team game, and it’s been a great journey so far, and this is a great ending.”
Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, who missed his team’s semifinal loss to Sweden with the flu, stopped 27 shots last night for the shutout.
“We felt like we had a group who could contend for a gold medal, then we had an opportunity to compete for a bronze medal and, before you know it, we’re going home empty-handed,” said U.S. defenseman Cam Fowler, who is Selanne’s teammate on the Ducks. “The only feeling I have right now is disappointment.”
The U.S., which lost 1-0 to Canada a night earlier, went scoreless for the second straight game after netting a tournament-high 20 goals while reaching the semifinals.
To make matters worse, the U.S. failed to convert on two penalty shots, both by Patrick Kane of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
“We just didn’t play well, there’s no way around it,” American captain Zach Parise of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild told reporters. “In the last two games we didn’t play good enough to win and we didn’t deserve to win. We had no jam in our play and no speed in our skates.”
Canada and Sweden meet this afternoon, on the closing day of the Sochi Games, for the gold medal.
Selanne scored Finland’s first goal early in the second period on a backhand wrist shot past U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. He added the fourth Finnish goal midway through the third period on a power play.
Finland also got goals from Jussi Jokinen, Juuso Hietanen and Olli Maatta. Jokinen’s goal came just 11 seconds after Selanne’s first, giving the Finns a quick 2-0 lead.
It was only the fourth time in 13 Olympic games between the nations that Finland has won. The previous time they met, in the semifinals at the 2010 Vancouver Games, the U.S. scored six goals in the first period -- two by Kane -- and won 6-1.
This time, Kane got stopped twice by Rask on penalty shots. The first was awarded after Timonen cleared a broken piece of stick that knocked the puck away from a U.S. skater. On the second one, after Kane was taken down on a breakaway, he hit the post.
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