Friday, February 21, 2014

U.S. Men Fall to Canada, 1-0, in Semifinals

Early in the second period at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, Canada's Jamie Benn redirected home a seeing-eye pass from the left point by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester.

That play both encompassed and completed the scoring for the Olympic men's hockey semifinal game in Sochi, Russia.

When the final horn went off, Canada still held its recent hockey mystique over the United States with a 1-0 victory against its North American neighbor to the south. The Americans. despite a lineup boasting Dustin Brown, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel (Minnesota), Zach Parise (North Dakota), Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin), Ryan Suter (Wisconsin) and James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire) put up nothing on the scoreboard, at least in the scoring column. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Canadian goaltender Carey Price made 31 stops to match his jersey number in besting U.S. netminder Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts), who made a number of key saves among his 36 stops to keep the Americans in a contest in which they would never score, despite averaging nearly five goals per game in this tournament coming into Friday's game.

A day after their female counterparts surrendered a late 2-0 lead in an overtime loss to Canada that cost them gold, the U.S. men again came up a goal short in Sochi to Canada, just as they did in Vancouver four years ago. The American will face Finland tomorrow for the bronze medal, while Canada, which recently won Olympic gold in both 2002 and 2010, will face Sweden on Sunday. The Swedes, who topped Finland by a 2-1 count on Friday, last won Olympic gold in 2006 in Italy.

34 years after the Miracle on Ice, the U.S. is still seeking its third Olympic men's hockey gold medal overall, and first since shocking the globe in 1980. Lake Placid is looking even lonelier after this one.

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