Team USA seemed to be on a mission to do two things at the 2014 Winter Olympics: win the gold medal and get some revenge against Canada for the 2010 gold medal game. They will do neither of those things.
The Americans’ tournament isn’t over, but their gold medal hopes were dashed Friday when they lost a 1-0 decision to the Canadians in Sochi. The U.S. will now try to salvage a bronze medal after the disappointing loss to its rival.
Quite frankly, the Americans were outplayed badly despite a seemingly close one-goal difference. See how the Americans graded out in the latest USA Hockey report card below.
The Americans never had a chance offensively. The Canadians did a tremendous job keeping Team USA — particularly the American forwards — out of the middle of the ice in the offensive zone. U.S. forwards produced 26 shots, but just a handful of them were legitimate scoring chances. The Americans’ best line of the entire tournament (Joe Pavelski centering James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel) was OK, but it was slowed down more and more as the game went on. That line produced just one shot in the third period. Zach Parise was Team USA’s best forward. He put eight shots on goal and had good jump in his step. Where was Patrick Kane on Friday or in the entire tournament? He hasn’t been awful, but Friday would have been a really nice time for him to break out. The incredible team speed the Americans displayed for most of the tournament was slowed by a smothering Canadian defensive system. Give credit to Carey Price, who made some big saves and really did a good job limiting the opportunities in front of the net. The US lost 32 of 54 faceoffs.
The loss of Paul Martin certainly was evident for Team USA. The defense corps was a question mark heading into the Olympics, and that finally came back to burn the Americans, especially without Martin in the mix. The selection of Brooks Orpik was questioned from the beginning by just about everyone outside of USA Hockey’s decision-makers. Orpik did nothing to silence those naysayers, particularly against Canada. He had one really memorable turnover in the second period that led to a golden scoring chance for Jamie Benn, but Jonathan Quick bailed him out. Orpik was also on the ice for the game’s lone goal. He was a liability on both ends and just really didn’t have a very good tournament. Slowing down the Canadian forwards is no small task, but the U.S. was hemmed into its own zone all game long, and that was in part because of the D-men’s inability to make plays in their own zone. The pairing of Ryan Suter and Ryan McDonagh, however, was terrific. Suter was a beast the entire tournament.
A handful of American players didn’t play nearly good enough to beat Canada, but Jonathan Quick certainly was not one of them. Quick was fantastic in easily his best game of the tournament. He was tested early and often on his way to stopping 36 of the 37 shots he faced. He allowed the game’s only goal, but there wasn’t much he could do on that play. Quick was expecting a shot from Jay Bouwmeester, and Bouwmeester made a terrific play to get the slap pass to Benn that, again, Quick had no chance of stopping. Quick’s sprawling glove save on Benn in the second period would have been a game-changer had the Americans generated any sort of offense.
The positive is that the Americans killed off two penalties. Ryan Callahan was an absolute beast on a third-period penalty kill, blocking slap shots from both Drew Doughty and Shea Weber. On the power play, however, it was a totally different story. The U.S. went 0-for-3 on the man-advantage. The team’s first power play was abysmal — probably its worst of the entire tournament. The second power play did produce the Americans’ best chance of the game when Patrick Kane fed a pass to Parise, but Price made an incredible pad save. Other than that, little to no momentum was produced on special teams.
Next up: Bronze medal game against Finland on Saturday.
Photo via Twitter/@CDNOlympicTeam