After such lofty hopes, American hockey has taken a beating at the Winter Olympics.
The slide culminated Saturday with a humilating loss to Finland on Satuday, the second-to-last day of the Sochi Games.
That put the Americans' out of contention to win the Winter Olympics medal race -- a disappointment after winning the most medals in Vancouver four years ago.
Things might be different if the Americans had Vic Wild on their side. But he's winning golds for Russia now.
A U.S. bobsled team is the last American squad with a shot at a medal.
Here are Saturday's highlights.
A couple days ago, the U.S. men’s hockey team seemed to have a legitimate shot at a gold medal.
The team was stacked with National Hockey League stars in their prime.
Those dreams have been dashed, with the final blow coming Saturday, when the Americans lost 5-0 to Finland.
That defeat, in the bronze-medal consolation game, followed a 1-0 semifinals loss Friday to defending champion Canada. It left the U.S. off the podium completely.
With that, the Americans wasted a chance to earn medals in consecutive Olympic hockey tournaments for the first time since winning gold in 1960 and silver in 1956.
The four-man bobsled remains the U.S.'s last hope for a final medal in Sochi.
The U.S. 1 sled, led by Steven Holcomb, part of the gold-winning team in Vancouver, ended Saturday a hundredth of a second behind the third-place German team. Russia is in the lead.
There are two more heats on Sunday that will decide the medals.
American wins snowboarding golds — for Russia
Saturday was a big day for American-born snowboard racer Vic Wild, who won his second gold medal.
But it’s the Russians who benefited.
Wild is from Washington state but married a Russian snowboarder, moved to Moscow and joined his adopted country’s Olympic team after a lack of support in the U.S.
That decision led to validation in Sochi, where he won the parallel giant slalom on Wednesday, and then the parallel slalom on Saturday.
His Saturday win was an upset of Austria's Benjamin Karl and drew praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said Wild proved that "sports fate smiles on the most talented, driven and strongest in spirit,” according to the Associated Press.
Ligety falls short in slalom
American Alpine skier Ted Ligety, who won gold in the giant slalom earlier this week, failed to medal in his final event in Sochi.
He didn't finish his second run in the men’s slalom on Saturday after losing control and going off course.
The event was won by Mario Matt of Austria, who at 35 became the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history.
Teammate Marcel Hirscher won silver, a one-two finish that gave the Austrians nine Alpine medals, a remarkable turnaround from Vancouver four years ago, when they won four.
The Americans, which won seven Alpine medals in Vancouver, finished with five in Sochi.
U.S. loses medal lead
America ended Saturday, the second-to-last day of the Sochi Games, with 27 total medals, nine of them gold.
That put the U.S. in second place in the overall standings, with no realistic chance of winning the final medal race.
Host Russia leads with 29 total medals, 11 of them gold.
Only Norway has as many golds as Russia. It is in third overall with 26 total medals.
There are only three eventsleft to be played on Sunday: The four-man bobsled, in which the Americans have a shot at a podium finish, the men’s hockey finals, which does not include the U.S., and the men’s cross country 50km free master start, where America is not considered a contender.