By David Malinowski, Daily Sports Writer
Published February 23, 2014
For all that was concerning about the Sochi Olympics to outsiders, the games are officially over and the flame has been extinguished in Olympic Park, with the torch now passed to Pyeongchang, South Korea for 2018.
Hockey once again took the spotlight as the final event of the Winter Olympics.
With the top four teams facing off in the semifinals on Friday, two former Wolverines, Max Pacioretty of the United States and Carl Hagelin of Sweden, found themselves hunting a birth in the gold medal game. With the United States taking on Canada and Sweden battling rival Finland, the maple leaf and the Tre Kronor stood as the final matchup.
The United States played a solid 60 minutes against Canada, though it ultimately fell short due to missed scoring chances and a lack of possession. The United States, which had the best shooting percentage and goal differential heading into Friday’s game, was shut down by the suffocating Canadian defense in a 1-0 defeat. The lone goal came when forward Jamie Benn redirected a shot from the point by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester past American goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Things didn’t get better for the United States. It entered the third-place game against Finland flat-footed and was embarrassed in a 5-0 shelling.
“We didn’t show up,” Pacioretty said to the media following the game. “We let our country down. That’s it.”
With two goals against the United States in the bronze medal game, Teemu Selanne of the Anaheim Ducks, the MVP of the tournament, finished the games with four goals and six points in five games played. In 37 career games at the Olympics, Selanne has 24 goals and 43 points. He is now the highest-scoring Olympian of all time.
Pacioretty was held off of the score sheet despite playing arguably his best game of the tournament against Canada. He finished the tournament with a total of one point in five games and averaged just over 10 minutes played.
Before the 2010 gold medal rematch took place, Nordic rivals Finland and Sweden played for the right to advance to the gold medal game, with Sweden advancing thanks to goals by Erik Karlsson and Loui Eriksson.
Hagelin and Sweden found themselves vying for their first gold medal since 2006 when they took on Canada on Sunday, though the Swedes had to settle for silver behind a dominant performance from the Canadians. Goals by Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Jonathan Toews all contributed to a 3-0 shutout in which the Canadian defense once again eliminated any sort of offense by its opponent.
Leaving Sochi as a silver medalist, Hagelin finished with two goals in six games played, becoming the first Wolverine to score an Olympic goal since Mike Knuble in the 2006 games in Torino, Italy.