Sochi Chronicles: Part THREE

Canada’s Medal Count has doubled in the gold category since the last post!- 24 MEDALS: 9 GOLD, 10 SILVER, and 5 BRONZE.[As of February 22nd, 2014]. **Rumor has it there is another a medal to be added to that total following an event that will have all of Canada on the edge of their seats!**

Women’s Bobsleigh: GOLD Kaillie Humphries & Heather Moyse

Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse came from behind in the 4th and final run to seal their GOLDEN fate and successfully defended their 2010 Gold medal with a Sochi GOLD performance.

Men’s Curling: GOLD – Team Jones (Brad Jacobs, Ryan Fry, EJ Harnden, Ryan Harnden, & Caleb Flaxey)

The Men’s Curling team didn’t start strong with a 1-2 record and then went on to win 8 straight to seal a GOLDEN victory and successfully defending Canada’s 2010 gold.

Women’s Curling: GOLD – Team Jacobs (Jennifer Jones, Dawn McEwen, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer & Kirsten Wall)

Team Jones did something that no women’s team has done before in the Olympics in leading her team to an undefeated 11-0 record on their way to GOLD medal. Team Jones is also the first Canadian Women’s curling team to win the gold medal since 1998.

┬áLadies Ski Cross: GOLD – Marielle Thompson & SILVER – Kelsey Serwa

Women’s Hockey: GOLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Men’s 500m Short Track: BRONZE – Charle Cournoyer

Now let’s take a closer look at the hockey that has taken place over the last few days. The Women’s hockey medals as you see from the above spoiler picture have been handed out.

The Women’s Bronze medal game featured Team Sweden and Team Switzerland. Florence Schelling backstopped Switzerland brilliantly the entire tournament and is the reason they earned their spot in the bronze medal game. It looked like Sweden was in control of the game taking a 2-0 lead into the third period BUT as we ALL know…2-0 leads are the worst to have in hockey. Switzerland made sure to make their presence known scoring 4 straight goals to take the lead and despite one last goal from Sweden, Switzerland was able to hold on for the win! Florence Schelling was the star for this team as they won their first ever Olympic hockey medal!

The GOLD medal stage was set for another amazing match up featuring Team Canada and Team USA for the 2010 GOLD medal rematch! Coming into Sochi, Team USA had won more games against Team Canada than they had lost and they were looking to translate that into a gold medal.

Team USA took the lead and carried a 2-0 lead with them late into the 3rd period. The writing was on the wall with the clock winding down and it seemed inevitable that the USA was on their way to their first gold medal since 1998. With just 3:26 remaining in regulation Canada found itself on the board and the lead suddenly cut in half…but would it be enough time to change their fate?

Canada pulled Szabados in an attempt to tie the game with just under two minutes left, the USA sent the puck down center ice to the net BUT it hit the POST! Canada swarmed on the puck and surged to the USA end…and with 56.5 seconds left Marie-Philip Poulin TIED the game 2-2! Cue the insanely LOUD cheers from the bench, the arena, and across Canada!

Remember what I said about 2-0 leads not being safe?!

Olympic overtime in a gold medal game is a full 20 minute period followed by a shoot out if needed. It was an extremely intense 8:10 of overtime with chances on both sides before the ever clutch Marie-Philip Poulin SCORED AGAIN and ended this game with the GOLDEN GOAL!! COMEBACK COMPLETE!

Just in case you want to relive that GOLDEN moment one last time, here you go:

THIS game will be long remembered for the epic comeback and the tenacity that these women play with. On one side of the ice there was absolute elation as they celebrated their incredible comeback and the other side there was devastation as they looked at what could have been. They say that you don’t “win” silver in hockey…but it is an incredible accomplishment none the less. It may not seem like it in the moment…but “winning” that silver medal is something to be proud of and will long inspire young girls for years to come. Congratulations to team USA for playing a great game and a continuously helping to show the world that women CAN play hockey at a high level!

The Men’s quarterfinals and semifinals have taken place and saw some very dramatic outcomes: Finland beat Russia in their quarterfinal game that stunned the hometown arena into complete silence. Sweden beat Slovenia in the quarterfinal to earn a date in the semifinals with Finland setting up a rematch of the 2006 Olympic gold medal game. It was an incredibly tight game between these two teams but it would be Sweden that walked away with spot in the gold medal game as they beat Finland 2-1.

The USA scored 5 goals yet again to beat the Czech Republic and earn their way in to the semifinals. Canada earned a win in a tight game against Latvia to earn their spot in the semifinal and date with the USA. The last time the USA and Canada met in the Olympics it was in the 2010 gold medal game…this time they would play to see who would get to play for gold and who would fight for bronze.

Everyone on both sides of the border had their eyes glued to this game. Everyone said that it would be impossible to stop the offensive scoring machine that the USA had become in Sochi and everyone was worried about Canada’s “lack” of offense in comparison. While everyone worried about the offense that would or wouldn’t come…we overlooked one very important aspect of Canada’s game…their impeccable defense. It is true that offense wins championships…but it is also true that strong defense can do the same. Both goal-tenders were incredible in this game…but it came down to one goal and one goal only that made the difference. Jamie Benn had the goal and Carey Price had the shutout as Canada shut down the unstoppable USA offense to earn a spot in the gold medal game and send the USA to the bronze medal game.

The bronze medal game set up Finland being led by captain Teemu Selanne in his final Olympic games against the USA who never expected to be there. The first period was a battle and seemed like it was going to be a nail biter for who would end up victorious….and then 11 seconds and 2 missed penalty shots changed everything. Finland score 11 seconds apart early in the second period while Patrick Kane missed his 2nd penalty shot in the middle frame. It seemed as though somewhere along the second period that the USA’s heart wasn’t in this game and Finland played as though it was championship game. Finland took full advantage of the mistakes being made by the USA and skated away with a 5-0 victory and the bronze medal after 60 minutes. It was a tale of two teams in this game: one that never wanted to be there and the other played as if it meant everything. It was an incredible game for Finland…and Selanne only further cemented his legend status as he showcased one last time for his country why he is the #FINNISHFLASH!

It’s a tough loss for the USA because their last two games with zero offense are NOT the way they envisioned their Olympic journey ending. The USA was so dominant in the early part of the tournament and to have it end in a 5-0 loss is heartbreak for the players and their fans. This is not how it was supposed to go…and while finishing 4th overall is still an accomplishment, it is not the ending that they desired. The USA had a talented roster and while some will critique the players that were on it and the ones the were left off…I tip my hat to the USA on one heck of a tournament [despite the 5-0 loss] and look forward to seeing them come back strong in 2018!

GOLD MEDAL GAME: The stage has been set. SWEDEN vs. CANADA. The only two undefeated teams going head to head with GOLD on the line. We are in store for one heck of a game from two great hockey nations no matter what the outcome. Best of luck to BOTH teams!

T-minus 4 hours to puck drop! Are you ready for the 4:00 AM wake up call west coast?! I know I’m not the only crazy one getting up to watch this game?! Where will you be watching?

Can you believe that there is just ONE day left of the 22nd Winter Games? As quickly as the Olympics arrived, they are nearly gone and within a few days we will be back to the regular scheduled NHL.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.