When the buzzer sounded to finalize Finland’s upset of the United States, Jack Eichel trudged from the penalty box. He was going home without a goal.
On this day, so were the Americans.
The United States’ time at the world championships ended suddenly Thursday. It entered the elimination round as the hottest team in the tournament, but it could generate little in a 2-0 quarterfinal loss to Finland.
“It goes without saying we’re bitterly disappointed,” U.S. coach Jeff Blashill said in Cologne, Germany. “We believed that this team had the ability to win the tournament. They are a great group who cared, were selfless and played some great hockey.
“Unfortunately, Finland was better than we were.”
Eichel’s tournament concluded with a trip to the penalty box. He took a high-sticking penalty with 1:52 to play, ending the Americans' last-ditch effort.
The Sabres center finished the world championships with no goals and five assists in eight games. Eichel led the Americans with 34 shots, including four against Finland, but he failed to find the net.
No one on the U.S. squad could score against Finland goaltender Harri Sateri. He made 26 saves for the shutout. Finland beat U.S. goalie Jimmy Howard twice on 20 shots, including a two-on-one with 13:11 left that made it 2-0.
"They did a good job defensively, clogging us up in the zone and made it tough on us all night long," Howard said.
After dropping their first game against Germany, the Americans rattled off six straight victories to claim first place in Group A. Finland was 4-3 and finished fourth in Group B, but it managed the upset and will play Sweden on Saturday in the semifinals. Sweden beat Switzerland, 3-1.
Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly helped Canada advance to the other semifinal with a 2-1 victory over Germany. O’Reilly assisted on the opening goal, feeding Mark Scheifele late in the first period.
— Shayne Pasquino (@shaynepasquino) May 18, 2017
O'Reilly has four goals and six points in eight games.
Canada fired 50 shots at goaltender Philipp Grubauer, but Scheifele and Jeff Skinner were the only ones to beat the netminder. The Germans took 20 shots, finally beating Calvin Pickard with 6:39 to go.
The Canadians will meet Russia on Saturday. The Russians beat Czech Republic, 3-0.