Team USA took on Team Finland in today’s bronze medal match-up. What should have been a closer game ended up being a blow-out.
When I looked back on the stats, plays, and highlights from the past games by Finland and the USA in this year’s Olympics, I knew that the first goal would be the game winner. But I didn’t expect a 5-0 shutout.
The first period was scoreless, but it set the tone for the rest of the game between these two even-strength teams.
After a penalty by Kimmo Timonen for throwing a broken stick at Ryan Kesler during play, Patrick Kane couldn’t capitalize on the penalty shot. A minutes and twenty-seven seconds into the second period, Teemu Selanne scored for Team Finland and I knew it would be a tough goal to get back for Team USA, but I knew they could do it. Less than ten seconds later, another Finland goal by Jussi Jokinen further quashed the USA’s hopes of coming back to tie the game, but it wasn’t impossible.
With two penalties in the remaining minutes of the second frame, a weak defense in the third period, and a general sense that the team was throwing in the towel, Team USA seem to shrink within themselves as the coach watched on with a look of confusion on his face. At one point, I even noticed Jonathan Quick shaking his head after one of Finland’s goals. I almost felt as though they had given up completely after another Selanne goal in the third.
Team Finland, on the other hand, stood tall and kept up their momentum and pace that was set with their first two goals. Selanne looked confident, Olli Maatta’s skill was on display, and Tuukka Rask stood tall in net even though he was out sick yesterday. They played to their strengths by finding Team USA’s weaknesses.
Congrats to Team Finland for winning the bronze medal!