Team USA entered the elimination round of the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championships as their group leaders during preliminary play.
Team Finland, on the other hand, entered the quarterfinals with a fourth-place standing in Group B, just squeaking in by virtue of one overtime loss to earn a point over France.
In the second major upset for Team USA of the tournament, Finland shut them out 2-0 to advance and leave USA without a medal.
Team USA outshot their opponents 26-20, but an impressive shutout from Finnish netminder Harri Sateri helped the European team move on to the semifinal round. They managed to find the back of the net against Jimmy Howard twice in the final two periods, and will now attempt to prove their preliminary round play was just an anomaly.
The first goal was a bright spot for Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen, who skated out for the NHL’s worst team this season. The Avalanche walked away from their 2016-17 campaign with just 48 points, then lost out on all three lottery draft positions to rub salt in the wound; if Rantanen can manage to medal, things will certainly turn around for his year.
The second goal was from former Boston Bruins forward Joonas Kemppainen, who went back overseas this year after spending a season in the NHL – and while Team USA boasted names like Clayton Keller, Jack Eichel, and Kevin Hayes, they were unable to get any kind of scoring accomplished to combat the two tallies for Finland.