U.S. men's hockey team loses to Finland in bronze-medal game

2:22 PM, Feb 22, 2014   |    comments
Finland forward Teemu Selanne (8) celebrates his goal with forward Mikael Granlund as the USA's Dustin Brown skates away dejected.
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(USA TODAY) SOCHI, Russia - The USA, which started so strong at the start of the tournament, went home without a medal after Finland rolled 5-0 in the bronze medal game.

What it means: The Finns win the bronze medal, giving them four medals since the NHL started sending players to the Olympics in 1998. No other country has won four medals during that time. The Americans go home with no medal. They only have two medals, silvers in 2002 and 2010, since the NHL became involved. The Americans haven't picked up a men's Olympic hockey medal outside North America since the 1972 U.S. team won a silver in Sapporo, Japan. This game avenged the 6-1 beating the Americans handed the Finns in the 2010 semifinals.

Game-changer: Teemu Selanne and Jussi Jokinen scored 11 seconds apart in the second period to give the always-defensive-minded Finns all of the scoring they needed. Both goals occurred with USA's top defensive pair of Ryan Suter and Ryan McDonagh on the ice. Maybe U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick could have stopped Selanne's shot, but he didn't have much hope against Jokinen's shot.

Difference-maker: Popular NHL star Selanne, who has played in six Olympics, scored a pair of goals to take home his fourth Olympic medal. It seemed clear that Selanne was a major motivator for this Finnish team, which played without key players Mikko Koivu, Valtteri Filppula and Aleksander Barkov.

Wants a do-over: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane was supposed to be the USA's best offensive weapon, but he missed on two penalty shot attempts. One of his shots went wide and one hit the post. Then, he was in the penalty box when Juuso Hietanen scored in the third period to make it 3-0. Kane didn't have a goal in the tournament. The penalty shot misses should not be a surprise. He is 1-for-11 shootouts this season in the NHL after going 6-for-11 last season.

Underlying causes: The Americans lost their way offensively. After scoring 20 goals in the first four games, they were shut out in the next two. Tuukka Rask was sharp in net for the Finns. But the Americans simply were not moving the puck as well as they did earlier in the tournament. They lost their overall team intensity. They were undisciplined against Finland, taking too many penalties. Their penalty killing was sloppy. They couldn't find away to steal away the Finns' momentum.

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