The final day of the Olympic Hockey tournament wrapped up, and in the process the quarterfinal spots were confirmed and the qualification round matchups were determined. Here is what happened:
RUSSIA 1, SLOVAKIA 0 (SO)
A day after a dramatic shootout loss to the US on Saturday, the Russians took to the ice against a thus-far disappointing Slovakia. Each team made goaltending changes after their latest losses, Russia going with Sergei Varlamov and Slovakia countering with KHL goalie Jan Laco after Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj both struggled in their earlier tournament appearances. It wasn’t the most intense or exciting game, and when the dust settled, it went scoreless to the shootout. Ilya Kovalchuck scored for Russia after Michal Handzus had missed, and then after Tomas Tatar was stopped, Igor Radulov iced it. I can only assume Marian Hossa was the next Slovakian shooter, and I can’t believe the Slovak coaching staff didn’t have him shooting in the first 2, to make sure he at least got a chance.
UNITED STATES 5, SLOVENIA 1
Phil Kessel led the way, scoring twice in the first five minutes andcompleted his natural hat trick just past the middle of the second to pace the States. Ryan McDonagh scored shortly after Kessel’s third and David Backes completed the scoring for the US three and a half minutes into the third. The only thing in doubt was whether or not Ryan Miller would get the shutout. That was answered in the negative with Marcel Rodman’s goal with 18 seconds left to get Slovenia on the board.
AUSTRIA 3, NORWAY 1
It was the Michael Grabner show as two winless teams squared off in Group B action. Grabner scored twice and added an assist as Austria downed Norway 3-1. Michael Raffl had the other goal while Per-Age Skroder replied for Norway. Mathias Lange held the fort for Norway, stopping 34 shots as Noway outshot Austria 35-27.
CANADA 2, FINLAND 1 (OT)
Drew Doughty opened the scoring and also closed the scoring for Team Canada as they squeaked by Finland 2-1. Doughty scored on a first period power play to give the Canadians the lead. Toumo Ruutu tied it up 8 minutes into the second for the Finns. Canada had the advantage in terms of offensive zone time, but couldn’t get through the stingy Finnish defense to get many quality scoring chances. Overtime was required, and it was on the transition rush that Jeff Carter dropped a pass to Doughty, whose seemingly harmless wrist shot went through the defenesman’s legs and slipped under Tuuka Rask’s left pad and into the back of the net fr the winner. Carey Price was forced to make just 14 saves as Finland changed their style to a much more defensive system and Canada snuffed out a majority of their rushes.
PRELIMINARY ROUND FINAL SEEDINGS
Here are the seedings after the preliminary round and the qualifying round matchups.
(1) Sweden – Will play the winner of (8) Austria and (9) Slovenia
(2) USA – Will play the winner of (7) Czech Republic and (10) Slovakia
(3) Canada – Will play the winner of (6) Switzerland and (11) Latvia
(4) Finland – Will play the winner of (5) Russia and (12) Norway
If everything goes according to form, it sets up a semi-final Canada vs USA matchup, so there will not be a repeat of the gold medal game in 2010.