American Hockey Falls Short of Expectations in Sochi

The U.S. ice hockey teams both suffered heartbreaking losses to our northern rival during the 2014 Olympic games. The women came home with a silver medal after losing to Canada, and the men lost to Finland in the bronze medal game after falling to Canada in the semifinal to end the tournament without a medal. Ultimately, both teams left Sochi, Russia in disappointment.

The women’s gold medal game was intense, going into overtime to find a winner. The men were shut out 1-0 and 5-0 in their last two games, respectively.

Tierney Henderson, a junior at Ramapo, kept up with the Olympic hockey series. 

“Both USA teams were just a huge disappointment,” said Henderson.

The women’s team played for gold on Thursday, Feb. 20 and were winning nearly the entire game. But the Canadians put up a never-ending fight and scored two goals in three and a half minutes to tie up the game in the third period, forcing overtime.

Canada pulled their goalie and made it interesting with a six-on-five matchup. One regulation play could have changed everything; with an open net, a shot was fired by Kelli Stack towards the open Canadian goal, but a referee was in the way. It trickled down only to hit the goal post and ricochet in the other direction.

That one play alone could have given the Americans the protection they needed to win the gold. Watching the puck miss the goal did not seem like a huge ordeal because the Americans were up 2-1, with just over a minute left. It is safe to say that luck was not in the Americans’ favor on Thursday.

Overtime lasted a forever-seeming eight minutes until Canada solidified their gold medal podium. The winning goal was scored by Marie-Philip Poulin, who ultimately kept the gold away from the Americans in the past, scoring twice in the 2010 Vancouver games.

The women’s team is no stranger to playing against Canada in the Winter Olympic games. The pair has met three consecutive times during the gold medal game, Canada being victorious in all of them. Not to mention, the Canadian women have struck gold the past four Winter Olympics.

The U.S. men’s hockey team also encountered trouble against Canada. The men’s team suffered the same fate from the same country in less than 24 hours. The Canadians won 1-0 in the tournament semifinal on Friday and proceeded to win the gold medal against Sweden, 3-0.

The American men had a chance to win the bronze against Finland, but suffered a lashing worse than Canada could have ever served. The Americans were defeated in a 5-0 blowout loss that sealed their Olympic fate.

“I expected way more from [Ryan] Callahan, actually,” Henderson said. “It’s sad that the men didn’t even place.”

Callahan, captain of the New York Rangers, finished the tournament with no goals and only one assist in six games.

Even with all of the disappointment from our national teams, as an avid National Hockey League fan, Henderson did add, “I was really excited for Lundqvist [of Sweden], and even more so for [Rick] Nash [of Canada]. It’s not that Canada doesn’t deserve the medal, but I thought Sweden was going to win, and was completely shocked Finland even came that close.”