Finland Routs USA for Bronze Medal
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen will take home a bronze medal from the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Finland defeated the United States, 5-0, in Saturday’s bronze medal game behind two goals from Teemu Selanne and a 27-save shutout from Tuukka Rask.
"We believed that we can win the bronze," said the 43-year-old Selanne, who was playing in his final Olympics. "I'm so proud of my guys. We were talking before the game: 'Let's play for ourselves. We deserve a great ending.' And we got that. Nobody really believed in us, but we did."
Jussi Jokinen had one goal and one assist and Juuso Hietanen and Olli Maatta also tallied for Finland, which has medaled in each of the last three Olympic hockey tournaments and in four of the five that have included NHL players.
"It's amazing," said Rask. "Nobody ever picks us to win anything and somehow we always find our way to win a medal. It's great. It would be nicer to get something brighter too someday, but not every guy gets these medals, and we're really happy for this."
Lehtonen did not dress for Finland on Saturday. Antti Niemi served as the backup to Rask. Lehtonen finished the tournament with a 1-1 record, 1.51 goals against average and .935 save percentage. He also picked up two assists.
The two teams played a scoreless first period. Team USA’s Patrick Kane had a penalty shot chance, but failed to convert. Selanne and Jokinen scored goals 11 seconds apart in the second to put Finland up 2-0. Kane had another penalty shot late in the second, but couldn’t convert again. Finland blew the game open with three goals in the third, including two on the power play.
The Americans were shutout for the second straight game and failed to medal for the third time in the five Olympics that have included NHL players.
"We didn't play well," said Team USA captain Zach Parise. "There's no way around it. The last two games, we didn't play well enough to win. We didn't deserve to win."
The Canadian players on the Dallas Stars were thrilled with the outcome of Friday’s semifinal game between Canada and the United States, which Canada won 1-0 on a goal by Stars captain Jamie Benn. No one on the Stars was happier and prouder than defenseman Jordie Benn, Jamie’s older brother.
“He’s always been the guy that comes to play when it’s a huge game,” Jordie said of Jamie. “I know us Canadians really wanted to beat those Americans. It was a good game and he played really well.”
Jamie Benn not only scored the game’s only goal, he won the faceoff that helped start the entire sequence leading up to the goal. And he was probably the best overall player in the game on Friday.
“If you tell him that he’ll praise his team and who he is playing with, but I think so too. He was dominant out there. He was really confident with the puck and it showed,” Jordie said. “I love watching him play and do really well. I am really proud of him.”
Jamie Benn and Team Canada will go for the gold medal when they take on Sweden Sunday in Sochi.
Saturday’s bronze medal game
Finland 5, United States 0
Sunday’s gold medal game
Sweden vs. Canada, 6:00 a.m., NBC