Teemu Selanne of Finland led his team around the ice, and scored a bronze medal after he finished off his sixth Olympics with a sweet and impressing victory.
Selanne’s goal 87 seconds into the second period “opened the floodgates for his team that overcame a semi-final loss on Saturday to win a medal for the third straight Olympics, following a silver in 2006 and bronze in 2010,” Reuters reports.
“I have been carrying this jersey with a lot of love and pride and winning this last game like this was a dream come true,” Selanne told reporters.
“It’s unbelievable. I played my first national team game 26 years ago and if somebody would’ve told me I was going to win four Olympic medals then, it would’ve been hard to believe. It is overwhelming for sure.”
Finland’s victory appeared for the U.S. team that won the silver medal at the past Winter Games in Vancouver and arrived in Sochi hoping to live up their billing as one of the gold medal favorites.
However, unfortunately for the U.S., after a terrible 1-0 loss to the Canadians in Friday’s two semi-final games, the Americans ran out of gas against a Finnish team that seemed to have more left in the tank as the game went on.
The national U.S. team was flying high this year and everything was going according to script. Theymanaged to reach the semis without a single loss and as the highest scoring team of the 12-nation tournament. But that meant little after losing to Canada.
“It was pretty demoralizing,” U.S. captain Zach Parise told reporters. “We had to turn around and realize that there was actually a bronze medal on the line which is still a pretty big deal. But those two efforts were just not acceptable at this point.”
Finnish hockey players took their American rivals by surprise as they showed a furious start to the second period to grab a two-goal lead after scoring twice in the first 98 seconds of the frame.
Selanne, 43, is the oldest player in the tournament and the Olympics’ all-time leading scorer. However, the legendary player managed to storm down the left wing before firing a shot inside the near post.
Jussi Jokinen gave his team additional 11 seconds later when he took a pass from Jori Lehtera that he catapulted into the U.S. net before Quick could stop the shot. Rask made 27 saves for the shutout.
“Whoever gets the first goal in hockey nowadays, that team has a really strong chance to win,” said Jokinen. “Being able to get the second goal right after that got us the momentum.”
Kane got the possibility to perform another penalty after a Finnish player broke the forward’s stick in half while trying to stop a scoring opportunity, but his attempt rang off the right post.
“The first one kind of rolled on me, I thought I had him,” said Kane. “The second one, I made a good shot, I just hit the post. I had some chances, just didn’t really capitalize on any of them. A really frustrating night.”