The U.S. men's hockey team lost any dream of an Olympic medal Saturday when Finland crushed them 5-0 in the consolation game for the bronze medal in the Sochi Games.
The loss was a major American disappointment in one of the Olympics' marquee events, especially after the Americans earlier beat the Russians.
Finland broke open the scoreless game in the second period, by scoring two successive goals in the opening minutes, embarrassing the Americans, who seemed uninspired. By the third period, the game was a blowout as the U.S. team was unable to find the goal.
The Americans appeared Saturday to still be reeling from their loss this week to Canada, 1-0, which meant that the Americans would be relegated to playing for the bronze medal and the Canadian team advancing to Sunday's game for the gold.
Americans entered the Olympics with high hopes -- and a quest to redeem themselves after their performance in the last Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 when they lost the gold-medal game to Canada 3-2 in overtime and went home with a silver medal.
In the Sochi Games, the U.S. team demonstrated early prowess when they beat the Czech Republic 5-2 and then archrival Russia 3-2.
But the U.S. team then lost to Canada, which will play Sweden on Sunday.
And then the Americans were shutout Saturday. The Fins seemed to score at will in the third period, racking up three goals.
At least the U.S. women fared better in the Sochi Games. This week they took a silver medal after they lost the gold medal game to Canada in overtime, 3-2.
The Olympics' hockey game has emerged as a sort of a world championship because many of hockey's top pros play in the Winter Games for their respective countries.
As so, the Finnish team was loaded with National Hockey League talent, as was the American team.
The Finnish team featured NHL players such as Anaheim's Teemu Selanne, Boston's Tuukka Rask and Dallas' Kari Lehtonen.
The Fins were a formidable team entering the bronze medal game because their two losses came to the two finalists who will be playing in Sunday's gold medal game -- Canada and Sweden -- and because they knocked Russia out of the Games.