Team USA Men’s hockey came into the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games with expectations to win the gold medal. The men kicked off the Olympics going 3-0 in Group A of pool play with a game against Russia that captured the attention of Americans everywhere. The game against Russia went down to the wire and past overtime into a shootout, where T.J. Oshie put Team USA on his back and scored 4 out of 6 shots he took, including the game winner. The Americans came out with a potent offense tying with Finland for most goals scored in pool play. Other powerhouses like Canada went 3-0, Finland 2-1, and Sweden 3-0. Team Russia, who arguably had the highest expectations, especially being host country, went 2-1.
The playoffs were a completely different story for the Americans, however. In the quarterfinals, Sweden, USA, and Canada easily cruised by their opponents by considerable margins. In the Finland and Russia game, the Russians were unexpectedly defeated and sent home without a medal. In the semifinals, rivalries were renewed. Canada faced USA, while Sweden faced Finland; these teams were rivals in the gold medal games of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2006 Torino Olympics, respectively.
The Americans came out firing but could not seem to find the back of the net as the Canadians shut them out 1-0. For the first time, the Americans struggled to find the scoreboard and had to pay the price. In the Sweden versus Finland game, Sweden’s goaltending saved many goals as they cruised to a 2-1 victory. This put Sweden against Canada in the gold medal game and USA against Finland in the bronze medal game. Canada exhibited their dominance in the sport again by defeating Sweden 3-0 to win the gold medal. After the demoralizing 1-0 loss against Canada, USA could not find its scoring touch and fell to Finland 5-0. USA was left out of the medal ceremony, and in the end, Canada took gold, Sweden took silver, and Finland took bronze.
By TYLER DOAN