Sochi Men’s Hockey Roundup: Day Three

Your daily shot of Olympic Hockey to go with your Vodka
February 14th, 2014

TODAY’S SCORES:

GROUP B:

Canada blanks Austria 6-0 Once again, the defense starting off the scoring for the Canadians with Shea Weber and Drew Doughty both scoring in the first period. Coach Mike Babcock was much happier about this start than he was with yesterday. He particular, he wasn’t happy with the play of both Jeff Carter and Rick Nash; they played 8:46 and 10:26 today as punishment. Carter got the message though, netting a natural hat trick in the second period. Ducks sniper Ryan Getzlaf finally scored his first goal of the tournament towards the end of the second on the shorthand. Roberto Luongo posted a shutout on 23 shots. The Canadians move into their day off on a high note but Babcock will need to figure out a good third forward to play with Sidney Crosby and Martin St. Louis.

Finland blasts Norway 6-1 Well I wrong about the excitement in this game. The Norwegians came into this game after playing so well against Canada yesterday every thought they had a much better chance of winning; or at least to keep close. Six-time Olympian Teemu Selanne deflated those hopes quickly after carrying the puck from his own blue line, deking through all of Norway’s skaters, and burrying the puck past Lars Haugen into the top shelf. The game was all Finland from their as they outshot the Norwegians 39-21.

Finland will take first place in Group B through two games as they have a goal differential of +9 compared to Canada’s +8. Finland and Canada face off in the final game of Group B on Sunday at noon.

GROUP C:

Czech Republic downs Latvia 4-2 Latvia doesn’t have many NHL players, and it showed today. ALL four Czech scorers play in the National Hockey League, including the ageless wonder Jaromir Jagr. The Flyers’ own Jake Voracek scored the game-winner, his first goal of the tournament. The Czechs nearly doubled up the Latvians in shots as well: 39-20.

Sweden edges Switzerland 1-0 The Swedes lost their captain, Henrik Zetterberg, today due to a herniated disk. Good thing they have the other Henrik: goalie Henrik Lundqvist. King Henrik stopped all 30 shots that came his and Sweden, frankly, needed him to post this shutout. The Swedes were only able to put 26 shots on and barely won this game in regulation. Given the lineup the Swedes still have active, they should be able to do better than 0 for 4 on the power play. You gotta feel bad for Swiss goalie Reto Berra who matched Lundqvist’s intensity in net but let up a small rebound that was buried by Daniel Alfredsson.

Sweden clinches the top spot in Group C due to having defeated both the Czech Republic and Switzerland. Both currently sit tied for 2nd with three points but meet tomorrow for 2nd place and potentially a bye into the quarterfinals.

SATURDAY’S GAMES:

Four games once again on Saturday coming from Groups A and C. At 3am EST, Slovakia and Slovenia take the ice for third place in Group A. At 7:30, the USA and the Russians play the most anticipated game of group play. One of the most star-studded games featuring many of the NHL’s best. The hometown Russians have an offensive advantage compared the US, but the Americans defensive core is deeper than Russia’s. The key for the US will be to come out flying and try to get on the scoreboard early. At noon, the Swiss and Czechs play for 2nd place in Group C while Sweden and Latvia also play, but both are locked into first and fourth place, respectively. The Czechs should be favored over the Swiss but if Switzerland can play like they did today, they can certainly pull out the victory. Sweden has locked up 1st in Group C so all they’ll really be playing for is seeding and looking to gain chemistry after having lost Zetterberg. They’ll also hope to prove that they can hang around in the Gold Medal conversation, but it doesn’t look very likely with the talented teams from Canada, Russia, Finland, and the USA.

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