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Finland's Teemu Selanne celebrates after scoring his team's fourth goal during the Men's ice hockey Bronze Medal Game USA vs Finland at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 22, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER NEMENOV (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Team USA came out of the gate strong as it looked to recover from a tough loss to Canada in the semi-finals, but in the end it was Finland that came out on top. Teemu Selanne scored twice in his final Olympic game to knock off the U.S. by a score of 5-0 and secure a bronze medal for the Finns.
Tuukka Rask stopped all 26 shots that he faced in the game to pick up the shutout victory, while Mikael Granlund and Lauri Korpikoski each had two assists. Jonathan Quick had a rough day in net for the Americans, giving up five goals on 29 shots.
The Americans got off to a solid start as they tried to establish a dominant puck possession strategy, and for the most part, it worked. They got an early power play thanks to that pressure, but they were unable to convert. James van Riemsdyk made a great shot attempt between his legs that Rask was somehow able to stop, and then Phil Kessel fired a shot on net that skipped through the blue paint and slid just past the far post.
A few minutes after the Finns killed off the penalty, they had a great series of chances at the U.S. end of the ice. They got several shots from in close, with Quick making massive saves and Ryan Kesler and Ryan McDonagh both stopping shots in the crease as well. Finally, the Americans were able to clear the puck from the zone, but it appeared that the Finns would seize momentum.
The Americans got a penalty shot awarded to them when Kimmo Timonen shot a broken stick at the puck, but Patrick Kane’s attempt ended up sliding just wide of the net. Max Paciroetty also got a nice breakaway chance late in the period, but it wouldn’t go as the Americans headed to the first intermission with the game tied at 0-0.
The second period started with the Americans on the power play, but they once again were unable to convert. Just a few moments after the power play ended, the Finns grabbed the lead. Granlund got the puck in the zone and flipped a beautiful back-handed pass to a streaking Selanne, who buried a backhanded shot past Quick to make it 1-0 Finland.
Just 11 seconds later, the Finns scored again. This time, it was Jussi Jokinen doing the honors, as David Backes turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Ryan Suter failed to get back into defensive position as Jokinen fired the puck into the net to give the Finnish side a 2-0 lead.
A few minutes after the goal, the Americans had another chance to seize the momentum back when Kane’s stick was broken in half by a Finnish slash on a breakaway. On the ensuing penalty shot, Kane ripped a wrist shot that beat Rask, but it bounced off the crossbar to keep the U.S. trailing by two goals.
The U.S. wasn’t able to get anything going as the second period wrapped up, but they were able to ratchet up the intensity to a degree as the third period got underway. Both Kane and Joe Pavelski picked up some great scoring chances in the early minutes of the frame, but both were stopped by Rask as the Finns continued to lead.
A short time later, Finland once again got a great chance to score, and they took full advantage. Sami Lepisto and Tuomo Ruutu worked the puck around the zone, and it eventually found its way up to Juuso Hietanen at the point. Taking advantage of a slew of traffic in front of the net, Hietanen fired a slap shot that evaded all of the traffic and was tucked just inside of the far post to give Finland a commanding 3-0 lead and seemingly deflated the American side.
That loss of enthusiasm was hammered home less than three minutes later when the Finns scored again. With TJ Oshie in the penalty box after a careless interference penalty, Finland worked the puck around the zone and eventually found some space. Granlund got the puck behind the net, and when two U.S. defenders collapsed in on him, he flipped a pass to a wide open Selanne, who wristed a shot past Quick to extend the lead to 4-0.
Four minutes later, the Americans committed another bad penalty, with Kane going to the box for a second time, and Finland took advantage again. This time, it was Olli Maatta blasting away with a shot, and it beat Quick through traffic to give the Finns a 5-0 lead, which they maintained for the rest of the game.
The victory gave Selanne his fourth medal in Olympic hockey, which is a new record.