Scoggins: Canada faster, better than Team USA in Olympic semis

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2014 - 11:51 PM

– A lone voice cried out from the crowd with five minutes left and the U.S. men’s hockey team helplessly pressing to generate scoring chances against Canada.

“I believe in miracles,” the man yelled.

With all due respect to 1980 and that scrappy bunch of youngsters, this collection of American hockey talent didn’t need a miracle Friday night. No, Team USA needed something else. Let’s start with more speed and aggressiveness, the kind of go-for-broke mentality the players carried onto the ice against Russia a week ago.

Strangely, that air of invincibility vanished in a game that the Americans viewed as their chance at redemption after suffering heartbreak four years ago.

Instead, their uber-skilled rivals north of the border took the fight to Team USA all game and rode one goal and suffocating defense to a 1-0 victory and a spot in the gold medal game in the Olympic hockey tournament.

Canada will attempt to defend its Olympic title against Sweden on Sunday. The U.S. will try to salvage something from this trip against Finland in Saturday’s bronze medal game.

The dejected U.S. contingent promised to soldier on and fight hard for that medal. But they didn’t fly 6,000 miles for bronze, not after winning silver in 2010 and entering this tournament with a gold-or-bust mantra. Their body language and short answers afterward revealed a deep disappointment that will stick with them for some time.

“I think all of us thought we’d be in a different situation,” forward Patrick Kane said. “Obviously it wasn’t good enough to win the game so it’s tough right now.”

They wore the underdog label proudly in Vancouver in 2010. An overtime loss to Canada and a silver medal, though disappointing at the time, created a sense of optimism that a gold medal in these Games seemed like a realistic expectation.

They certainly looked the part in advancing to the semifinals. They led the tournament in scoring and settled into their roles nicely and had the look of a team that was steadily building momentum to something special. They looked reactive Friday.

Canada played at warp speed to keep the U.S. pinned in its own end for long stretches, unable to dictate the game’s tempo.

The U.S. had some scoring chances along the way, but the Canadians made Jamie Benn’s goal and Carey Price’s 31 saves stand up because they kept their foot on the gas the entire game.

“They came at us with 20 guys, they came at us with speed, they came at us for 60 minutes,” U.S. coach Dan Bylsma said. “That was as fast a game that I’ve ever been a part of. It was up and down the ice. We weren’t able to counter that or match that as much we would like.”

It’s not that they weren’t capable of it. This U.S. team can play fast, too. But the Canadians reached deep and found a gear that the U.S. — for whatever reason — couldn’t duplicate. That left players perplexed because this was not the occasion to leave anything on the table.

“We had an awesome opportunity,” forward David Backes said. “I don’t think we quite laid it all on the line the way we needed to in order to win. A 1-0 game in the semifinal against your rival country, that’s a sour taste.”

Credit where credit is due: The Canadians are the best team assembled in the world, so deep in talent that they’re playing for gold and Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews still have not scored goals in this tournament. Canada put the U.S. on the defensive by turning the game into a track meet.

“They played their butts off,” Backes said. “We played pretty hard, but another notch would have done us a lot of good.”

The U.S. is 3-12-3 against Canada in the Olympics. The Americans lost in overtime in the championship game in Vancouver and now must swallow another one-goal loss. U.S. captain Zach Parise shot down the notion that their rivals have become a mental roadblock.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Canada 1, USA 0

    Friday February 21, 2014

    Men's hockey action from Sochi, Friday, Feb.21.

  • Wild's Parise reflects on the one that got away

    Saturday February 22, 2014

    Zach Parise's perfect power-play chance was thwarted as Canada’s Price stopped that shot plus 30 more.

  • Game recap: U.S.-Canada semifinals

    Friday February 21, 2014

    MEn’s hockey semifinalsCANADA 1, U.S. 0THE HEROCanadian goalie Carey Price posted the shutout, turning back all 31 shots by the...

  • Canadians, including Corey Perry, left, and Chris Kunitz, celebrated at game’s end. Canada plays Sweden for the gold medal Sunday.

  • Team Canada goalie Carey Price had 31 saves against Team USA on Wednesday, including a right-edge dandy against Paul Stastny in the second period.

  • Team USA captain Zach Parise had eight shots on goal in the game despite being roughed up in front of the net on occasion.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Detroit 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Houston 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Oklahoma City 6:30 PM
Dallas
New York 8:00 PM
Portland
Toronto 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Toronto 4:00 PM
Florida
Vancouver 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Tulane 11:00 AM
St Johns
Central Conn St 12:00 PM
Connecticut
Iona 12:00 PM
Drexel
Concordia (MI) 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Harvard 1:00 PM
Arizona State
Longwood 1:00 PM
Ball State
Sacred Heart 1:00 PM
Brown
Colgate 1:00 PM
Columbia
MD-Eastern Shore 1:00 PM
Duquesne
UNC Greensboro 1:00 PM
East Carolina
Marist 1:00 PM
Elon
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Cincinnati Christian 1:00 PM
Liberty
Morgan State 1:00 PM
Marquette
Campbell 1:00 PM
Samford
Bucknell 1:00 PM
Siena
Long Beach State 1:00 PM
Syracuse
Coppin State 1:05 PM
Evansville
UMKC 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Hofstra 1:30 PM
Long Island
Coast Guard 2:00 PM
Army
Thomas (GA) 2:00 PM
High Point
Texas Southern 2:00 PM
Kansas State
Rutgers 2:00 PM
Monmouth
NC Wesleyan 2:00 PM
NC A&T
South Dakota St 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Central Penn College 2:00 PM
Radford
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
South Florida
Harris-Stowe 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Robert Morris-IL 2:00 PM
SIU Edwardsville
Northland College 2:00 PM
North Dakota St
Milwaukee 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 2:30 PM
Arkansas
Saint Peters 3:00 PM
Cornell
St Katherine 3:00 PM
Fresno State
Haskell 3:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Wake Forest 3:00 PM
Richmond
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
Xavier
SD Christian 3:05 PM
Northern Ariz
Judson 3:30 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Ill-Chicago 4:00 PM
Bradley
Loyola-Maryland 4:00 PM
Fairfield
Miss Valley St 4:00 PM
Houston
Lehigh 4:00 PM
UMBC
Delaware State 4:00 PM
Temple
Belmont 5:00 PM
Butler
Howard 5:00 PM
Fordham
NW Christian 5:00 PM
Nevada
UC Davis 5:00 PM
Washington St
Abilene Christian 5:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UCLA 5:30 PM
Alabama
Stony Brook 7:00 PM
Washington
Buffalo 7:00 PM
Wisconsin
CS-Bakersfield 9:00 PM
California
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
Drexel 11:00 AM
Miami-Ohio
Holy Cross 11:00 AM
Norfolk State
East Carolina 11:00 AM
South Florida
(10) Oregon State 12:00 PM
(8) Tennessee
Providence 12:00 PM
Boston College
Florida A&M 12:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Oakland 12:00 PM
Central Michigan
Chattanooga 12:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Fairfield 12:00 PM
La Salle
St Francis-PA 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Milwaukee 1:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Gardner-Webb 1:00 PM
Longwood
New Hampshire 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Bucknell 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Northeastern 1:00 PM
Albany
George Mason 1:00 PM
Towson
Richmond 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Tulane 1:00 PM
Cincinnati
North Florida 1:00 PM
Florida
(14) Georgia 1:00 PM
Seton Hall
Tennessee St 1:00 PM
(12) Kentucky
American Univ 1:00 PM
Wake Forest
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Boston U
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Lafayette 1:00 PM
Saint Peters
Northwestern 1:00 PM
(20) Michigan State
Duquesne 1:00 PM
Lehigh
George Washington 1:00 PM
Loyola-Maryland
(17) Rutgers 1:00 PM
Indiana
(24) Green Bay 1:00 PM
Dayton
Western Mich 1:30 PM
Stony Brook
Davidson 1:30 PM
Virginia
UNC Greensboro 2:00 PM
LSU
Denver 2:00 PM
North Texas
VA Commonwealth 2:00 PM
Coppin State
Huston-Tillotson 2:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Lamar 2:00 PM
Rice
Miss Valley St 2:00 PM
Alabama
Saint Louis 2:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Middle Tennessee 2:00 PM
Tenn Tech
Penn State 2:00 PM
(23) Iowa
Purdue 2:00 PM
Illinois
DePaul 2:05 PM
Illinois State
Sam Houston St 2:05 PM
Wichita State
South Dakota 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(4) Notre Dame 3:00 PM
UCLA
Coll of Charleston 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Dartmouth 3:00 PM
Niagara
Colgate 3:00 PM
Siena
Michigan 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Fla Gulf Coast 3:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Yale 3:30 PM
(25) Arizona State
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
(16) Stanford
Long Island 4:00 PM
Long Beach St
Jackson State 4:00 PM
Louisiana
Eureka 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Cornell 5:00 PM
(22) Syracuse
Temple 7:30 PM
Memphis

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Gophers head coach?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close