Feb. 21, 2014
SOCHI, Russia (Gophersports.com) -- The U.S. Men's Olympic Team will battle Finland on Saturday in the bronze-medal game after falling to Canada 1-0 on Friday in semifinal action.
In a game that saw the two border rivals combine for 68 shots on goal, only one found its way into the net -- a chip-in by Jamie Benn during the second period that proved to be the game winner.
“We certainly all feel disappointment in this game, but that’s got to be put behind us very quick. We still have much to play for and we will deal with that tomorrow,” U.S. head coach Dan Bylsma said.
“We still have a lot to play for and not going home with anything is not an option. But we’re going home with a bronze medal.”
Former Gopher and the leading scorer for the U.S. Phil Kessel was held without a point for the first time in five games in Sochi while the U.S. fell for the first time at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Kessel remains tied for the overall scoring lead with eight points as well as the lead in goals with five including a hat trick against Slovenia in the preliminary round.
Kessel shared time on the ice with fellow Gophers alum Blake Wheeler late in the semifinal game while Paul Martin was forced to miss the semifinal contest due to illness.
The U.S. will now play Finland at 9 a.m. CT on Saturday in the bronze-medal game. NBC Sports Network will broadcast the game live. All-time in the Olympics, Team USA is 7-0-0-3-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) vs. Finland. They have never met in the bronze-medal game.
Gopher Hockey has a total of six representatives at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi including Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Paul Martin on the U.S. roster and Thomas Vanek on Austria's roster. Former Gopher and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's team while Hobey Baker Award winner Robb Stauber is the goalie coach for the U.S. women.
Minnesota's four Olympians are tied for the most among college hockey programs at this year's Olympics while the Gophers' 54 all-time Olympians are by far the most in all of college hockey. The Gophers have a long-standing history of competition at the Winter Olympics with a representative at every Winter Olympics dating back to 1936.
Between Minnesota's men's and women's programs, the University of Minnesota has a total of 14 representatives in Sochi -- the most among any college or university in the NCAA.
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