Friday, February 26, 2010

Incredible 1st Period Propels USA to the Final

It was a semi-final game that many predicted would be a low scoring, tight checking affair. The young, inexperienced, upstart Americans against a veteran laden, workhorse Finland. Both teams have the two best statistical goaltenders in the tournament in Ryan Miller and Miikka Kiprusoff. Easy to predict close games at this stage between two hockey powers, but this tournament has taught us to expect the unexpected.

It was an early and catastrophic blunder from Kiprusoff at just 2:04 of the first period that seemed to start the impending onslaught. Kiprusoff came well out of his net in an attempt to play the puck away from a charging Ryan Kesler, unfortunately he passed it right to Ryan Malone who scored on a wide open net. It was about to get a whole lot worse for the Finns.

Four minutes later, with Janne Niskala in the box, Zach Parise built on the American lead from a nice pass from Paul Stastny. Then just two minutes later, with Toni Lydman off for boarding, Erik Johnson made it 3-0. And again, it was about to get a lot worse.

Miikka Kiprusoff's night was over after Patrick Kane scored to make it 4-0. Unfortunately Niklas Backstrom didn't fare any better as Kane then scored his second in just over two minutes to make it 5-0. At 12:46 of the first period the Americans had a shocking 6-0 lead. It will go down as one of the most amazing periods in olympic hockey history. The Finns would add a late goal from Antti Miettinen on new American goalie Tim Thomas after Ryan Miller was given a rest.

This will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Finns who have many players on their team in their final Olympics. It will be new generation of hockey players for Finland after this tournament if they have any hope for future success. The one saving grace for Finland is that they can still play for a bronze medal on Saturday.

The underdog tag can be officially removed from this impressive American team as they now play for the gold medal. This new generation of USA hockey has arrived and should be a force for years to come.

1 comment:

  1. One of the most humiliating losses losses in maybe SPORTS history. If Kiprusoff insisted on being the number one guy, then they should have left him in the whole game since that's what he wanted.

    PS Team USA will NOT be getting any huge momentum boost early on from a goaltending miscue on Sunday...