Sochi 2014 Olympic Hockey Tournament is over for Totallyserioussports.com and Canada has earned gold. They defeated a strong defensively Finn team that took silver. The Russians took bronze. The USA team was heavily favored to do very well and possibly take gold, however they were beat in a overtime in the quarterfinals 2-1 in OT by Team Russia. Team Canada center Sidney Crosby took home honors as MVP of the tournament.
The USA won pool A with a record of 6-1-1 with the only loss coming at the hands of the Swiss. The Canadians took pool B with a record of 7-1 with the only loss coming to the Swedes. Many had expected these two powerhouses meeting in the Gold Medal Game, but this did not come to pass.
The best and most exciting match of the tourney was in the Quarterfinals, which featured Team USA led by Totallyserioussports legend Ted Kupchik against Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia. Kupchik led all scoring in the Olympics with 9 goals and 18 assists. All of Russia had waited for this game as there was much hope that the Russian team would restore previous glory and bring the gold home to Mother Russia.
In this game, Kupchik and the USA team started off very strong, but were turned away at every angle by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky robbed Kupchik off 2 different one timers and stopped Patrick Kane on a in-close wrister. The deadlock was broken by Kupchik short handed with a goal in the 2nd period as he beat the Russian goaltender on a breakaway. Kupchik fired a point blank wrist shot that beat Bobrovsky stick side high. Immediately following this, Kupchik leveled Evengi Malkin with a nasty open ice hit. Malkin did go to the bench, and though he did not leave the game he was not a factor again. The game looked bleak for Russia, and the fans were very silent as they could sense impending doom.
Entering the 3rd period with Team USA up 1-0, the game became much tighter as Russia’s will turned the tide. Mother Russia’s boys had their fortunes turn on the back of Pavel Datsyuk. Coming out of the corner Pavel lowered his shoulder and destroyed Kupchik sending him down in a heap landing awkwardly on his back. Though Kupchik did get up and continue, it infused the fans in Sochi and also send the Russian players into a frenzy. USA goalie Jonathan Quick did his best to stop the barrage, but Datsyuk struck from the slot with just over five minutes left in the game to tie the game. Kupchik had 2 more shots but physically he was not the same for the rest of the game.
In the extra period, Ovechkin struck quick. Only 2:49 into the extra session, Alex took a pass that deflected off of USA defenseman Jack Johnson and beat Quick with a backhand stick side low. The puck was in back of the net and The Russian team, fans, and nation on a whole went into a frenzy. It was a huge win and a sigh of relief for the Russians who were on their home ice with unbelievable expectations. It was a huge deflating loss for Team USA who had Kupchik playing for them for the first time in over a decade. The multi-time Stanley Cup Winner was denied a shot at this second Olympic Gold Medal.
The Russians may have had a let down in the semifinals however as they looked flat in a 4-2 defeat to Team Finland. They just could not bring the intensity as they had before against Team USA. Tukka Rask, goalie for Finland easily swept aside 19 shots, as most of the shots were kept to the outside. A huge let down for a team that expected themselves to face Canada for the Gold.
In the Gold Medal Game, Canada won 5-2 over Finland to take the Gold. Sidney Crosby had a goal and 2 assists and was too dominant for the Finns to handle. Physically dominating, Crosby led the Canadians to an easy gold and clearly established themselves as the best team in the tournament.