Six hockey games were on the Olympics schedule today in Sochi, both the men’s and women’s tournaments are well underway now. Today Team USA and Team Canada finally got to lace up the skates and hit the ice, USA faced Slovakia and Canada took on Norway. The action started at noon local Sochi time, 3:00 AM EST.
At noon there was a double header, Germany took on Japan in the women’s tournament, and Finland faced Austria as the men’s tournament entered the second day of preliminary play. The German women’s team skated to an easy 4-0 victory over Japan, the Japanese out-shot Germany, but couldn’t get anything passed Viona Harrer – the German netminder stopped all 30 shots.
Finland and Austria, part of Group B, gave the crowd an exciting match-up – at least in the first period. There was a total of six goals in the first period alone, and Austria even saw themselves in the lead twice during the period. Finland turned it up a notch though, scoring five unanswered goals from the second half of the first period to the end of the second period. Michael Grabner scored a hat trick for Austria, and Mikael Granlund scored twice and added an assist for the Finnish. Final score of the game, 8-4 Finland.
Two more games were played at 4:30 local Sochi time, 7:30 EST. Hosts Russia faced Slovenia, and Team USA played Team Slovakia – all four teams are part of Group A. Check out Julia Lawrence’s article for a full update on Team Russia, including a post-game recap for their game against Slovenia.
Team USA came out strong against Team Slovakia, who is led by none other than Zdeno Chara. The American fire power was far more superior than the Slovaks, and it showed in the second period. Team USA scored 6 of their 7 goals in the second period. Paul Stastny led the onslaught with two goals, Phil Kessel had one goal and two assists, and two other players scored a goal and added an assist – John Carlson, and Ryan Kesler. Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in the 7-1 victory. Tomas Tatar scored the lone goal for the Slovakian team in the second period.
The two late games, puck dropped at 9:00 PM local Sochi time, included Canada vs Norway, and Russia vs Sweden in the women’s tournament. The Russian women’s team rallied around the hometown crowd and won their game 3-1 – scoring a goal in all three periods, the last being a goal in the final minutes of the game to solidify the win for the hosts.
Team Canada and Team Norway, part of Group B, were the second part of the late night double header. Canada and Norway skated through the first period with no goals being scored, it wasn’t until six minutes into the second period that Canada finally lit the lamp. Shea Weber opened up the scoring for the star-studded Canadian team, and Jamie Benn added a second goal in the period as well. Norway got on the scoreboard early in the third period, 22 seconds into the period Patrick Thoresen scored on the power play. The goal was quickly redeemed by the Canadians, as Drew Doughty scored the third goal to lift the Canadians past Norway. Carey Price made 19 saves in the 3-1 victory.
Tomorrow consists of more play from Group C, Czech Republic vs Latvia, and Sweden vs Switzerland. Group B hits the ice again as well, Norway vs Finland, and Canada vs Austria.