SOCHI, Russia — It took a generation but Finland’s hockey team got even for its Lake Placid loss that capped the American golden miracle but cost Suomi’s sons a bronze medal. This time, with Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask bouncing back from illness to make 26 saves, the Finns humiliated the US by a 5-0 count at the Bolshoy Ice Dome to win the bronze and send the US home empty-handed from a tournament that it had dominated until the medal round.
The Americans, who watched Patrick Kane miss two penalty shots, fell into an insurmountable hole after Teemu Selanne, Finland’s 43-year-old captain, and Jussi Jokinen scored 11 seconds apart in the first two minutes of the second period. Then the US conceded three more goals on the power play in the final period while finishing the tournament with a scoreless streak of nearly 138 minutes.
After losing to defending champion Canada, 1-0, in the semifinals, the US was playing for the bronze medal for the first time since 1992, when it was spanked by the Czechs, 6-1, in Albertville. While the Finns had made the podium at five of the previous seven Games, winning the bronze in Vancouver last time, the Americans historically had had success against them at Olympus, winning seven and tying two of their 12 meetings, including a 6-1 triumph in the 2010 semifinals and a 4-2 victory that clinched the 1980 gold medal.
The US missed a gift opportunity to take the lead at the 13:40 mark of the opening period when it was awarded a penalty shot after Finnish defenseman Kimmo Timonen pushed a broken stick at forward Ryan Kesler while he had the puck. But Patrick Kane couldn’t solve Rask and put his bid wide right.
When the Finns had their chances, they didn’t miss. After Selanne flipped a backhander past goalie Jonathan Quick at 1:27 of the middle period, Jokinen came down and promptly beat Quick again at 1:38.
Kane was awarded another penalty shot at 6:24 of the second period after Leo Komarov broke his stick with a slash on a breakaway but Kane put this one off the right post. Then, with Kane in the box after a lazy-man’s trip, defenseman Juuso Hietanen scored on a slapper with 6:10 elapsed in the third and Selanne followed with another power-play goal at 9:06 to put matters out of reach. A fifth goal by defenseman Olli Maatta at 13:09 was mere punctuation.