The USA Men’s Ice Hockey team was unable to place at the Olympics as former Ferris defenseman Chad Billins and company failed to get into the medal round.
Team USA was eliminated from the tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 21, after a shootout loss to the Czech Republic, who also failed to medal in the tournament after a loss to Canada in the bronze medal game.
Team USA was shocked in their opening preliminary game as they let a 2-0 lead slip in the third period against Slovenia, a team that began the tournament with the worst odds to win. Former Grand Rapids Griffin and Detroit Red Wings forward Jan Mursak tied the game late with Slovenia’s netminder pulled and then registered the game winner less than a minute into overtime to hand the Americans a stunning loss.
An improved effort was displayed a couple days later as the Americans held on for a 2-1 victory against Slovakia, a team that had upset the Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) a few days prior. With the win, Team USA went into their matchup against OAR with a chance to win their group.
Chances of winning dropped early as it became apparent the Russians were a much stronger team, dominating the Americans in a 4-0 game. With the loss, Team USA was forced to play in a rematch with Slovakia in the qualifying round. USA won again, this time decisively in a 5-1 game, sending them to the quarterfinal round where they played Czech Republic.
Billins became the second Ferris alum ever to don the US sweater at the Olympics, joining Jason Blake, who did so in the 2006 games. Billins, however, became the first player to do so after playing all four collegiate years at Ferris, as Blake transferred to the University of North Dakota after his freshman year at Ferris.
Billins failed to register on the scoresheet in the five American games after putting four shots on net. He became a consistent defender for an American team that received a strong presence from Billins on the back end.
With Team USA’s failure to medal, Chris Kunitz remains the only former Ferris player to medal in the Olympics with Canada’s gold medal in the 2014 games.
Billins will now return to Linköping Hockey Club of the Swedish Hockey League, where he has registered four goals and 18 assists for a total of 22 points in 43 games this season.
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