Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Olympic Pool Update (Day 7, Feb 21)

I don't think you can count this as an upset, but the Americans are out at the hands of the Czech Republic, after a pretty good, tight-checking game, which led right to the shootout.  1-1 after one, 2-2 after two, no scoring in the 3rd, the Czechs playing for the shootout in overtime and the Europeans did what they do best and that's throw some mad dangles out there.

There wasn't a lot of scoring for the hockey pool though.  The Czechs didn't help us out much, only one assist in the scoring summary, while the Americans were not a whole lot better, but 3 out of 4 points for the pool works, I guess.

The Czechs were then set to take on the winner of Norway and Russia.

And to no one's surprise, the Russians didn't waste much time with the Norwegians, finishing the 1st period with a 3-0 lead.  Norway was able to get a goal back, but a couple of costly penalties in the 2nd period and they were down 5-1 at the end of the middle frame.  The Russians then coasted to the finish, adding one more in the 3rd period and they are through to the semis to take on the Czechs.

Nikita Gusev was the big performer of the night in the hockey pool, scoring the winning goal and adding a pair of assists for a 5-point night, getting Neil back in the hunt for the money.  Mikhail Grigorenko and Ivan Telegin each had a couple of points for Clayton's team, but that's not quite enough for his side, and then another three players, Pavel Datsyuk, Slava Voynov and Ilya Kablukov each had 2 points as well.

The Finns were one of the most offensive teams in the tournament, leading up to the quarterfinals, and they had the top hockey pool scorer at their disposal, Eeli Tolvanen, so it was even more impressive that the Canadians were able to shut them out.  It was even more impressive that it was a split effort, with Ben Scrivens going down with injury and Kevin Poulin coming in to finish the job.

It was a super-tight game, as there was no score into the 3rd period, but a Maxim Noreau goal off an early 3rd period faceoff was enough to get the job done, as Canada held on for a 1-0 win.  Noreau got the 3 points, his 2nd game-winning goal of the tourney, definitely turning out to be Dale's best player, but he hasn't been quite enough either.

Next up on the bracket for Canada was the winner of Sweden and Germany.

Plenty of ups and downs in the last of the quarterfinal games, but it was eventual heartbreak for the Swedes, who went into the playoff round with some pretty high hopes and expectations.  Germany got off to a strong start, scoring two goals in 29 seconds in the 1st period and really clamping down on the Swedes, taking that 2-0 lead into the 3rd.

Sweden got their motor running in the 3rd though, managing to tie the game up at 3-3 with under nine minutes to go in the game.  This one had to go to overtime too, but the Germans were not going to be denied, scoring a minute and a half in and upsetting the Swedish powerhouse and moving on, hoping to do the same against Canada on Thursday.

Out of the Germans in the hockey pool, Christian Ehrhoff had a goal, but it was the opening goal, so no bonus points and that was it.  The Swedes were able to post some points in the pool, but it was only Linus Omark that was notable, with 2 points, on the way out of the tournament.

With four games left to play in this tournament, both Chris and Don lead the pool with 32 points, Chris has the second tie-breaker in game-winning goals to this point, but both teams only have three players left in the tournament.  Neil's team, which is only 2 points back, has two Canadians and five Russians, and they're running pretty well, so far.  Steve is at 28 points and also has seven players, so he has a pretty good shot at the money as well.

I would have to say it's down to these four, as the points drop off pretty quickly.  It's been a fun pool, so far... I can't wait to see how it finishes.
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