Olympics: Finland routs US 5-0 for bronze in hockey

LARRY LAGE AP Hockey Writer Published:

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Teemu Selanne led his team around the ice, with a bronze medal draped around his neck, after he finished off his sixth Olympics with a sweet victory.

If the Finnish Flash is retiring and hanging up his skates after the NHL season, he picked a pretty good way to go out on the world's stage.

Selanne scored two goals and Tuukka Rask had a 27-save shutout, helping Finland rout the United States 5-0 Saturday to win hockey bronze at the Sochi Games.

The 43-year-old, smooth-skating forward with a lightning-quick shot and Jussi Jokinen scored 11 seconds apart early in pivotal second period.

Selanne and his teammates were not finished, scoring three goals in the third against a team that looked like it would rather be at home.

"It was just something special," Selanne said. "I'm so proud."

The Americans, meanwhile, were humiliated.

"I'm kind of embarrassed where we're at now," U.S. defenseman Ryan Suter said.

Selanne has helped Finland win four medals in the last five Olympics, more than any other nation in the NHL era.

Before the match became a rout, it was a game of missed opportunities for the Americans.

Patrick Kane couldn't convert on a penalty shot in each of the first two periods. He missed the net to the right on his first one-on-one duel and hit the right crossbar on his second.

"Just didn't really capitalize on anything," he acknowledged.

Kane, who also missed a breakaway in overtime against Russia, said Saturday's setback was one of the most frustrating games of his career.

"Whether it was confidence or not getting enough chances, who really knows at the end of the day," he said. "I thought I had opportunities. ... You think you're in three times against the goaltender alone and hopefully you could score a couple of times out of that. It just wasn't meant to be."

FOUR-MAN BOBSLED: Alexander Zubkov has close company in his pursuit of Olympic history.

Trying to become the sixth driver to win two bobsled gold medals in the same games, Zubkov has a narrow lead over Latvia's Oskars Melbardis after the first two runs of the four-man competition, shaping up to be a sled-to-sled battle between the world's fastest drivers on ice.

The favorite after dominating the two-man event, the 39-year-old Zubkov and his crew completed their two runs down the Sanki Sliding Center track on Saturday in 1 minute, 50.19 seconds -- 0.04 seconds ahead of Latvia's Oskars Melbardis, who jumped three sleds with a blistering second run.

USA-1 driver Steven Holcomb, the defending Olympic champion who couldn't catch Zubkov in two-man and settled for bronze, is fourth, 0.17 seconds behind Zubkov. Maximilian Arndt in Germany-1 is third, 0.16 seconds back.

With two runs left today, the gold is very much up for grabs.

"There's a lot of good teams out here," said Holcomb, who wasn't slowed by a nagging calf injury. "I knew it was going to be a battle like this."

SPEEDSKATING: Shani Davis wanted to end his Olympic career with a flourish. Instead, one of America's greatest speedskaters endured a miserable time with the rest of his U.S. teammates at the Sochi Games.

For the first time since 1984, the Americans failed to win any medals in 12 events at the oval, leaving Davis pondering his future in the sport he's loved since he first started skating as a 6-year-old in his hometown of Chicago.

"We came in being one of the most decorated disciplines in the Winter Olympics and we come away with zero medals," he said. "It's horrible."

Davis skated in Friday's quarterfinal loss, but was replaced by alternate Joey Mantia for the D final. Mantia, Brian Hansen and Jonathan Kuck finished seventh among eight teams.

In the women's pursuit, Brittany Bowe, Heather Richardson and Jilleanne Rookard were sixth, the highest U.S. showing in speedskating in Sochi.

MEN'S SLALOM: Mario Matt of Austria won the men's slalom Saturday, becoming the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history.

Leading after the first run, Matt glided through the slushy course in a combined time of 1 minute, 41.84 seconds. Austrian teammate Marcel Hirscher turned in a fast second run to take silver, 0.28 behind, and teenager Henrik Kristoffersen of Norway captured bronze.

Matt, who turns 35 in April, surpasses now-retired Norwegian great Kjetil Andre Aamodt as the oldest Alpine skier to win gold. Aamodt was 34 years, 170 days when he won the super-G at the 2006 Turin Games.

Sixth after the opening run, Ted Ligety of the United States skied off the tricky course.

POLITICAL STATEMENT: The head of Russia's Communist Party held up a hammer-and-sickle Soviet banner during a flower ceremony at the Winter Olympics, leading to a confrontation with staff over violating Olympic rules that bar political statements at the games.

A series of photographs taken Friday night shows Gennady Zyuganov in a group of five men in the stands displaying the historic Soviet Banner of Victory toward the podium while medals were being awarded in three short track speedskating events at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

It's not clear how many political displays have been attempted inside venues during the Sochi Games. But few if any have been noticed.

HISTORY: Yohan Goncalves Goutt put East Timor on the Winter Olympics map Saturday night.

By completing both slalom runs under the lights -- including a treacherous second leg -- the 19-year-old Goncalves Goutt became the Asian country's first competitor in Winter Games' history.

Never mind that Goncalves Goutt placed 43rd out of the 43 skiers who completed the race, or that he was nearly 50 seconds behind gold medalist Mario Matt of Austria.

The crowd roared with support for both of Goncalves Goutt's runs.

"I spoke with my mom just before and she told me that there is a big demonstration on the streets, but in a positive way, driving around with the flags saying 'Go Yohan. Go Yohan,'" Goncalves Goutt told The Associated Press. "It's just great. I wouldn't believe I was that kind of star there because there soccer is so big. But now there's the skiing."

MEDALS PAY TRIBUTE: Before the Olympics started, the Canadian freestyle team spread Sarah Burke's ashes in the halfpipe and around other areas in the mountains above Sochi.

Another tribute they paid to the fallen freeskiing star: all those medals they're bringing home.

Canada led the world with nine medals at the freestyle events, including four gold.

"Although it was a sad moment, it has created a significant inspiration for us," said Peter Judge, chief executive of the Canada Freestyle Association.

It's the culmination of a project that started with Canada's "Own the Podium" program that pumped more than $110 million into developing winter sports in the advance of the Vancouver Games. Burke was a big part of the next phase. She pushed hard to get halfpipe and slopestyle skiing into the Olympics. In 2012, less than a year after the sports were added, she died after a training accident.

NEXT: Even before the Sochi Games come to a close, organizers of the next Winter Olympics are promising to do them Gangwon style.

After two failed bids to host the Winter Games, the South Korean city of Pyeongchang won the right to stage the 2018 edition in the mountains of Gangwon province east of Seoul.

Organizing committee president Kim Jin-sun held a news conference Saturday to provide an update on preparations and to answer questions about issues including security, North Korea's participation and whether NHL players would compete in the Olympic hockey tournament.

"Tomorrow the Sochi Games will be closed and the Olympic flag will be handed over to Pyeongchang," Kim said. "That's the moment the Pyeongchang Games essentially begin"

It has become a tradition for the current and next Olympic host cities to complete a symbolic exchange of the baton during the closing ceremony. From his side, handover ceremony executive director Yoon Ho-jin is promising the Pyeongchang segment will "showcase Korea's unique artistry and culture in a global format" in a show featuring "world renowned cast members" on Sunday.

Could that mean PSY performing Gangnam Style in Sochi? They're not saying.

What the Korean organizers were willing to discuss is planning and construction for 2018, with Kim saying they're moving "in the right direction for all functional areas."

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