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

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:00 PM
Indiana
Denver 7:00 PM
Memphis
Chicago 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Boston 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:30 PM
Toronto
Dallas 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Detroit 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Columbus 6:30 PM
Florida
Nashville 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Minnesota 8:00 PM
Calgary
Buffalo 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
San Jose
DePaul 6 1st Half 14:54
Providence 13
Michigan State 5:00 PM
Rutgers
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Army
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Youngstown St 6:00 PM
Detroit
East Tenn St 6:00 PM
Furman
Saint Louis 6:00 PM
George Mason
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
High Point 6:00 PM
Liberty
Central Conn St 6:00 PM
Long Island
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Dayton 6:00 PM
Massachusetts
Chattanooga 6:00 PM
Mercer
Wofford 6:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Maryland 6:00 PM
Ohio State
FIU 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fair-Dickinson 6:00 PM
Robert Morris
Mount St Marys 6:00 PM
St Francis-NY
Bryant 6:00 PM
St Francis-PA
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Stetson
Coll of Charleston 6:00 PM
Towson
Western Carolina 6:00 PM
Va Military
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Wagner
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
North Florida
Appalachian St 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Holy Cross 6:30 PM
Loyola-Maryland
Eastern Ill 6:30 PM
UT Martin
Jacksonville St 7:00 PM
Belmont
Connecticut 7:00 PM
Cincinnati
Rider 7:00 PM
Saint Peters
SIU Edwardsville 7:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Marshall 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Tenn Tech 7:00 PM
Tennessee St
Middle Tennessee 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ill-Chicago 7:00 PM
Milwaukee
Weber State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
Denver 7:00 PM
North Dakota St
IUPU-Ft Wayne 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Louisiana 7:05 PM
South Alabama
Georgia State 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 7:30 PM
Troy
Portland 8:00 PM
Gonzaga
Kentucky 8:00 PM
Missouri
Eastern Ky 8:00 PM
Murray State
UAB 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UMKC 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Chicago State 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Colorado 8:30 PM
USC
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Hawaii 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Pepperdine 9:00 PM
Pacific
Santa Clara 9:00 PM
San Diego
Utah 9:00 PM
UCLA
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Montana 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana State 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Long Beach State 9:30 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Loyola Marymount 9:30 PM
St Marys-CA
San Francisco 10:00 PM
BYU
California 10:00 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 47 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Saint Josephs 50 2nd Half 1:59
Saint Louis 48
Appalachian St 4:00 PM
Georgia Southern
Niagara 4:00 PM
Saint Peters
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
FIU
Southern Miss 5:00 PM
Marshall
Georgia State 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Ark-Little Rock 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
ULM 5:15 PM
Troy
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
(17) Duke
(6) Tennessee 6:00 PM
(10) Kentucky
(24) Oklahoma 6:00 PM
(14) Texas
Nebraska Omaha 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
UC-Riverside 6:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Army 6:00 PM
Boston U
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Nicholls
Charlotte 6:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Towson 6:00 PM
Delaware
Hofstra 6:00 PM
Northeastern
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
William & Mary
Clemson 6:00 PM
Wake Forest
Alabama 6:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
(23) Syracuse 6:00 PM
(8) Louisville
Missouri 6:00 PM
Florida
Iona 6:00 PM
Fairfield
Manhattan 6:00 PM
Marist
NC State 6:00 PM
Virginia
(4) Notre Dame 6:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(22) Rutgers 6:00 PM
Purdue
(5) Maryland 6:00 PM
Michigan
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Cleveland State
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Florida 6:00 PM
Kennesaw St
Stetson 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Loyola-Maryland 6:05 PM
Holy Cross
Lamar 6:30 PM
Sam Houston St
Fla Gulf Coast 6:30 PM
Lipscomb
Vanderbilt 7:00 PM
(18) Miss State
IUPUI 7:00 PM
Western Ill
Abilene Christian 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
McNeese State 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Oral Roberts 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
UAB
Auburn 7:00 PM
Arkansas
Grand Canyon 7:00 PM
UMKC
Illinois 7:00 PM
(15) Nebraska
(20) Iowa 7:00 PM
Northwestern
Utah Valley U 7:05 PM
Chicago State
Green Bay 7:05 PM
Valparaiso
Ole Miss 8:00 PM
LSU
Portland State 8:00 PM
Montana
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Montana State
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Weber State
Ohio State 8:00 PM
Wisconsin
Northern Colorado 8:00 PM
Idaho State
BYU 9:00 PM
San Francisco
St Marys-CA 9:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Pacific 9:00 PM
Pepperdine
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
San Diego 9:00 PM
Santa Clara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
Long Beach St 10:59 PM
Hawaii

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

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