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U.S Drubbed By Finland, Drop Bronze Medal

 

I shouldn’t be writing this. Why am I writing this? THIS SHOULD NOT HAVE ENDED LIKE THIS.

 

In the Red corner, you had the United States: A global hockey powerhouse and defending silver medalists, the Yanks put up a whopping 15 goals through three games of group play, winning Group A and booking their one-way ticket to the quarterfinals. After thrashing Jaromir Jagr and the Czech Republic 5-1, the Americans were shutout by the Canadians. Save for a stellar showing by Los Angeles Kings‘ netminder Jonathan Quick, the U.S. looked lethargic, consistently being pinned in their own zone while receiving little offensive reprieve. The forecheck, downright ineffective, afforded a besieged defensive group no respite, as Duncan Keith and company suppressed any attempt at sustained American pressure while threading pass after pass to the neutral zone. They relived history, failing to exact revenge on Sidney Crosby and the Great White North. With that said, you’d figure that they’d play with a chip the size of Nunavut on their shoulders.

 Patrick Kane misses his second of two penalty shots CREDIT: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Kane misses his second of two penalty shots
CREDIT: Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports

 

Oh yeah, and in the Blue corner you’ve got Teemu Selanne-err, Finland. Missing two top forwards in Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula from the get-go and losing first-line manchild Aleksander Barkov (well, the Florida Panthers are screwed) in just their second game of the tournament, the Finns leaned heavily on a superior defensive system and otherworldy goaltending. Lead by perennial good-guy Selanne and Boston Bruins phenom Tuukka Rask, they won the games they were supposed to, while giving Canada a run for its money in a 2-1 defeat that better showcased their defensive prowess than the Canadians’ star-studded lineup. Finishing second to eventual gold-medal winners Canada in group play, Finland would knock the host Russians out of the tournament, sending them crashing out of the quarterfinals before dropping their semi-final fixture against Sweden by a score of 2-1.

 

It was a matchup between contrasting styles — the high-flying offense squaring off against the resilient defense, battling it out for the bronze in what was sure to be a low-scoring, tight-checking contest. But evidently, the IOC let R. Kelly conjure up this game’s script. And apparently, he decided to recreate an Olympic Trapped in the Closet. ON ICE.

 

With more plot twists than a M. Night Shyamalan movie, the Lejonen tore Uncle Sam apart, slamming the Americans in a 5-o demolition. I REPEAT. FIVE TO NOTHING. NIL. ZIP. ZILCH. NADA. The closest whiff the North American squad got to a goal was a Patrick Kane penalty shot that rang off of Rask’s left post.

 

Despite only being outshot by two (27 to the Finns’ 29), Quick got absolutely shelled in net, allowing all five markers within a two-period span. Scoreless through the first, the floodgates burst open in the second frame; finding the twine twice in ELEVEN seconds, Finland jumped out to an insurmountable lead. Supported by a further three goals in the third, Suomi all but coasted to their fourth Olympic medal since the NHL allowed Olympic participation of its athletes in 1998.

 

With a storyline fitting a legendary career, the ageless Selanne potted two tallies against his cross-state rival Quick, including the first and game-winning goal of the match. Earning his fourth Olympic medal in his sixth trip to the Winter Games (he’s had an international career longer than I’ve been alive), the Finnish Flash earned the send-off he deserved, one fit for a king and a gentleman of the sport.

 

Also scoring for the Finnish, Jussi Jokinen of the Pittsburgh Penguins landed a second quick punch, notching the aforementioned second goal in eleven seconds against the Americans. Ringing the death knell, Juuso Hietanen and Olli Maatta would sandwich a second Selanne strike, damning the Americans to a fourth-place finish. Back in the cage after missing Finland’s semifinal tilt with the flu, the ironclad Rask repulsed every U.S. effort on goal.

 

Scoring for the United States:

  • . . .

 

I scored one more goal than they did through their last two games, and I was playing SOCCER. Now please excuse me, while I cry my teenage eyes out and watch marathon upon marathon of Cops. 

Alex Lopez

Alex Lopez

Ridiculously injury-prone Business Administration major who tries to row, enjoys writing, digs rap, appreciates Chance The Rapper a tad bit too much, and loves the Florida Panthers. Spirit animal-Left Shark. Once set a food challenge record at some diner in High Springs, Florida. "Nice beard, dude"-Chadwick Stokes, Dispatch. Also enjoys long walks on the beach, guacamole and doing everything "for the bois".
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