Winter Olympics: Finns crush U.S.
SOCHI, Russia Teemu Selanne led his team around the ice, with a bronze medal draped around his neck, after he finished off his sixth Olympics with a sweet victory.
If the Finnish Flash is retiring and hanging up his skates after the NHL season, he picked a pretty good way to go out on the world’s stage.
Selanne scored two goals, and Tuukka Rask had a 27-save shutout, helping Finland rout the United States, 5-0, Saturday to win hockey bronze at the Sochi Games.
The 43-year-old, smooth-skating forward with a lightning-quick shot and Jussi Jokinen scored 11 seconds apart early in the pivotal second period.
Selanne and his teammates were not finished, scoring three goals in the third against a team that looked like it would rather be at home.
“It was just something special,” Selanne said. “I’m so proud.”
The Americans, meanwhile, were humiliated.
“I’m kind of embarrassed where we’re at now,” U.S. defenseman Ryan Suter said.
Selanne has helped Finland win four medals in the last five Olympics, more than any other nation in the NHL era.
Patrick Kane of the U.S. couldn’t convert on a penalty shot in each of the first two periods. He missed the net to the right on his first one-on-one duel and hit the right crossbar on his second.
“Just didn’t really capitalize on anything,” he acknowledged.
Kane, who also missed a breakaway in overtime against Russia, said Saturday’s setback was one of the most frustrating games of his career.
“Whether it was confidence or not getting enough chances, who really knows at the end of the day,” he said. “I thought I had opportunities. … You think you’re in three times against the goaltender alone and hopefully, you could score a couple of times out of that. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
The Netherlands capped its dominant performance in speedskating with two more gold medals in team pursuit, bringing the nation’s haul to a staggering eight golds and 23 medals overall.
“What a kick!” Jan Blokhuijsen said.
The Dutch men cruised through the semifinals and finals, pulling away from South Korea to win gold with an Olympic record time of three minutes, 37.71 seconds.
Then the women blew away Poland with their third Olympic record time in three races. Ireen Wust, Jorien ter Mors and Marrit Leenstra were like a runaway train, leading by more than a second and a half after the first half-lap and steadily building the advantage from there, winning by more than seven seconds in 2:58.05.
Wust became the first athlete at these Winter Games with five medals — two golds and three silvers.
An Austrian was the heavy favorite to capture the men’s slalom. Just not this Austrian.
Mario Matt was a surprise winner as he became the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history, edging pre-race favorite and teammate Marcel Hirscher.
Leading after the first run, Matt glided through the slushy course in a combined time of one minute, 41.84 seconds in the last Alpine event of the Sochi Olympics. Hirscher finished 0.28 seconds behind for silver, and teenager Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway captured bronze, 0.83 behind.
Matt, who turns 35 in April, surpasses now-retired Norwegian great Kjetil Andre Aamodt as the oldest Alpine skier to win gold. Aamodt was 34 years, 170 days when he won the super-G at the 2006 Turin Games.
Sixth after the opening run, Ted Ligety of the United States fell back on his skis and couldn’t recover, sliding off the course. He was far from alone, though. The course set by Ante Kostelic of Croatia was so tough and tricky that five of the last eight racers didn’t finish.
“The snow is just really bad, and Ante set a really difficult, typical Ante course, which is borderline unsportsmanlike to set those kinds of course on these kinds of hills,” said Ligety, who captured gold in the giant slalom three days ago. “But that’s how it goes. Everybody had to ski it. Not all the best guys had a chance to make it down, unfortunately.”
The 1-2 finish by Matt and Hirscher helped Austria win the Alpine medal race with nine, which was four more than the Americans.
Russia made its fans wait for a biathlon gold medal until the last race of the Sochi Games.
Despite missing eight targets, the Russian team won the men’s 4x7.5-kilometer relay, sending the home nation to top of the medal table.