The 2014 Winter Olympics is now in the books, and the USA came away from Sochi with a respectable haul of nine golds and 28 medals overall. But many American hockey fans have to be disappointed that those totals aren’t at least 10 and 29, respectively.
Going into the men’s tournament, many books like 888sport had the USA fourth on the list of favorites behind Canada, Russia, and Sweden. But after coming agonizingly close to the gold in Vancouver in 2010, it wasn’t unrealistic to have high hopes this time around. And after an unbeaten run through Group A–including a thrilling shootout win over Russia—and a resounding 5-2 win over the Czech Republic in the quarters, those hopes had to be even higher.
Unfortunately, whatever carried them through the first four games was missing in the semis against Canada, a 1-0 defeat that wasn’t as close as the scoreline suggests. That dismal showing carried over to the bronze medal game, which saw Finland score five goals in the last two periods to send the Americans home without being able to add to the medal count.
However, that disappointment doesn’t quite compare to the disappointment for the women’s team. As expected, they breezed through to the gold medal match, and they were favored to stop arch nemesis Canada from winning a fourth straight Olympic women’s hockey title. And with the clock winding down, it looked like they were going to do just that, as they led 2-0. But Canada scored twice in the last three and a half minutes to send the game to overtime, then won it a little more than eight minutes into OT. When glory was so so close, it had to be hard to accept silver, especially when their biggest rival was celebrating gold.
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea will be here before we know it, and they’ll offer up a chance for redemption for both the men and the women. But for now, four years seems like an eternity.