Vancouver, BC – Leading 7-2 with a minute remaining in the 2nd period the US men’s hockey team appeared to be on cruise control. Their second line of Chris Drury, Phil Kessel and Keith Tkachuk had 4 goals and the team was abuzz with emotions of going into a semi-final matchup against the host country. With 4 seconds remaining, Marian Hossa broke up a clearing pass from John-Michael Liles and scored on an incredible deke beating Ryan Miller’s stick side. The Slovaks would come back and score two more goals off of Marian Gaborik’s stick bringing the final tally to 7-5 in a game the US clearly dominated with a 45-30 shot differential.
The US will take on Team Canada in the semi-finals tonight in a game that will truly be historic for the squad. The Americans will skate without injured center Paul Stastny once again and their big enforcer, Mike Komisarek, who was injured in last night’s win. Defenseman Rob Blake will be out of the lineup for Team Canada after an injury in their game last night.
The Americans are certainly the underdogs in this contest, but with Ryan Miller in net and the offense appearing to come to life, they stand a chance of an upset. Time will only tell.
Around the Olympics:
The Olympics have truly had some big surprises thus far.
1) Russia’s Performance: Who would’ve guessed that the Russian club would’ve gone 0-3-1 during this year’s Olympics? With big names like Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Malkin and others one would’ve thought the Russians would’ve been a serious contender. The Russians will be remembered for their first game against Team Canada, a game which sparked a lot of controversy.
2) Quarterfinal Matchup – Czech vs World: The Czechs were upset last night largely in part to a spectacular performance by Cristobal Huet. Huet stopped 42 of 44 shots on goal in the teams’ 4-2 win. The World squad may not have the most talent but they’re sporting the Olympics’ hottest goaltender in Huet.
3) Olympic Defense: The WHL has had so many lopsided games this season that it’s somewhat surprising to see close matchups and a league leader with only 9 points (Patrick Elias, Czech – 3 goals, 6 assists) through 4 games played.