?6-1 Victory Against Finland at Olympic Winter Games propels Team USA forward.
All 6 Goals come in first period
VANCOUVER, B.C. – The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team scored six first-period goals en route to a 6-1 win against Finland here today in the semifinal round of the XXI Olympic Winter Games. With the victory, the U.S. improved to 5-0-0-0 (W-OTW-OTL-L) and advanced to the tournament’s gold-medal game on Sunday (Feb. 28).
“We got off to a good start with that first goal and it just kept growing from there,” said Ron Wilson, head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. “Our goal has been to get better every game and we had all five players on the ice working together at all times. I’ve loved our discipline throughout the entire tournament.”
Team USA exploded for six goals in the opening period, including five markers in a span of 6:24. Ryan Malone (Pittsburgh, Pa./Tampa Bay Lightning/St. Cloud State Univ.) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead at 2:04 after sending a failed clearing attempt from Finnish goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff into an open net.
While on the power play, Zach Parise (Prior Lake, Minn./New Jersey Devils/Univ. of North Dakota) made it 2-0 at 6:22 when he collected a Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche/Univ. of Denver) pass to the left of Kiprusoff and snapped a shot high to the blocker side.
Erik Johnson (Bloomington, Minn./St. Louis Blues/Univ. of Minnesota) notched his first goal of the tournament on the power play at 8:36 when he buried a rebound opportunity off of a Joe Pavelski (Plover, Wis./San Jose Sharks/Univ. of Wisconsin) shot.
Team USA added its next two goals off of Patrick Kane’s (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) stick. He netted his first of the game at 10:08 when he collected his own rebound on the backhand and slid the puck under Kiprusoff. Kane potted his second tally 2:23 later when he took a Brian Rafalski (Dearborn, Mich./Detroit Red Wings/Univ. of Wisconsin) pass and fired a shot that beat new Finnish goaltender Niklas Backstrom to the far side.
Stastny collected his second point and first goal at 12:46 when he sent a one-timer from Jamie Langenbrunner (Cloquet, Minn./New Jersey Devils) past Backstrom high to the glove side, giving Team USA a 6-0 advantage after one period.
After a scoreless second period, Finland’s Antii Miettinen netted a power-play goal at 14:46 to close out the game’s scoring.
U.S. netminder Ryan Miller (East Lansing, Mich./Buffalo Sabres/Michigan State Univ.) turned aside all 18 shots faced before being replaced by Tim Thomas (Flint, Mich./Boston Bruins/Univ. of Vermont) midway through the third period. Thomas stopped six of seven Finnish attempts.
The U.S. will play the winner of tonight’s semifinal match-up between Canada and Slovakia in the gold-medal game on Sunday (Feb. 28). The game will be be televised live in all time zones at 3:15 p.m. EST on NBC.
NOTES: Sunday (Feb. 28) marks the 50th anniversary of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team’s 9-4 gold medal-clinching win against Czechoslovakia … Patrick Kane’s two goals against Finland marked the fourth two-goal effort by a U.S. player at the tournament (Brian Rafalski-Norway, Canada; Zach Parise-Switzerland) … Parise tallied his 45th point with Team USA on his first-period goal … Kane (2-0), Ryan Malone (1-1), Parise (1-1), Rafalski (0-2) and Paul Stastny (1-1) paced the U.S. with two points each … Rafalski leads all players at the Olympics with eight points (4-4), while Ryan Miller leads all goaltenders in goals-against average (1.04) and save percentage (.954) … Team USA’s six goals in the opening frame matched a U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team record for most goals in a period in the modern era (since 1952). The feat has been accomplished four times since 1952, most recently on Jan. 31, 1964, in the third period against Germany … The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team is 5-0 for the first time since 1960. The U.S. finished that tournament with a 7-0-0 record, capturing the United States’ first-ever Olympic gold medal in ice hockey … The U.S. has scored at least one power-play goal in each game of the tournament .