Golden dream gone: U.S. plays Finland for bronze

Friday, February 21, 2014 | 7:12 p.m. CST; updated 7:33 p.m. CST, Friday, February 21, 2014
U.S. forward Zach Parise skates off the ice as Canadian players celebrate after the men's semifinal game at the 2014 Winter Olympics on Friday in Sochi, Russia. Canada won 1-0 to advance to the gold medal game. The U.S. and Finland will battle for the bronze medal on Saturday.

SOCHI, Russia — The United States hockey team came to Russia for Olympic gold.

It now hopes to return home from the Sochi Games with bronze.

Canada beat the Americans 1-0, relegating them to the third-place game on Saturday against Finland.

It will be a tough mental and physical test for the guys in red, white and blue.

The Finns will be more rested and perhaps more ready to bounce back from their 2-1 loss to Sweden.

The Swedes beat Finland in a game that started five hours before the puck dropped for the Canadians and Americans.

"It's a quick turnaround, that's for sure," U.S. defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "It's not the goal we set out for, but we'll see what kind of character we have."

Finland won bronze four years ago at the Vancouver Games, silver in 2006 and bronze at the 1998 Olympics — the first with NHL players. No nation has won as many medals since the sport's best players joined hockey at the Olympics.

Teemu Selanne, the 43-year-old Finnish Flash, wants to add to his collection.

"A bronze medal would be an unbelievable thing," Selanne said after losing to the Swedes. "So, that is our goal, though it is very disappointing."

The U.S. had to settle for silver in 2010 and 2002, losing to Canada each time, and seemed set up to earn its first Olympic gold medal in hockey since the "Miracle on Ice" 34 years ago.

After dominating Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia and Czech Republic by a combined score of 20-6, the Americans were not as fast, as strong or as good as Canada in a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated.

"There's huge disappointment in not being able to come up with the victory in this game," U.S. coach Dan Bylsma said. "But that's got to be put behind us real quick. We still have much to play for."

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