Welcome back to our coverage of the quarterfinals!
Latvia (12) vs. Russia (1) 1:5
Shots: 17 – 16
Hits: 7 – 13
PIMs: 2:00 – 2:00
PP: 0/1 – 0/1
1st Ilya Kovalchuk (1G, 1A, +3)
2nd Nikolai Kulemin (1G, 1A, 5 Shots)
3rd Alexander Ovechkin (1G, 4 Hits, +3)
The game started one sided. Latvia could not come out of their zone and were forced to play a trapping style game. Ovechkin with a couple of big hits in the opening minutes. Kulemin made it 1:0 after a great heads-up play by Anisimov who saw that Kulemin was wide open in the slot. Quick, low shot to beat the goalie. First power play of the game 12 minutes into the first for Latvia, but they failed to convert. Kovalchuk made it 2:0 with 6 seconds to go in the first.
The second period started just like the first ended with a goal for Russia! Ovechkin powered along the half boards, turned behind the Latvian net and stuffed the puck through the goalie’s pad and post somehow. Power play for Russia, but no results on that one either. The Latvian netminder with some big saves to keep the score at 3:0, until Malkin made it 4:0 with a top shelf wrister from the slot.
An uneventful third period caused by sheer dominance of the Russian squad. Latvia scored their lone tally as Bobrovsky was unable to close his five hole in time. Tarasenko restored the old lead with 5 minutes left to play.
Russia continues to succeed, but against Lavtia a loss would have been unacceptable.
United States (8) vs. Canada (2) 6:0
Shots: 17 – 16
Hits: 9 – 5
PIMs: 0:00 – 2:00
PP: 0/1 – 0/0
1st Patrick Kane (3G, 6 Shots, +5)
2nd Ryan Kesler (1G, 2A, +4)
3rd Ryan Miller (SO)
Game of the day between an USA team which has struggled and Canada which was excellent so far. But only one of these two big favorites for the gold medal can make it into the next round.
Chances for both teams right from the first whistle, but both goalies turned them down. A stupid slash by Tavares put the US team on a power play where they were stoned by Cary Price on multiple occasions. Strong defensive play by Canada. Even after they turned the puck over they could recover to clear the zone. Suddenly a huge mistake by Price and a goal for the USA! A weak shot by Pavelski was held, but he stayed with his initial shot and as Price wanted to play the puck to his defender Pavelski was there to poke it in! 1:0 USA 14 minutes into the first. Three minutes later the next mistake and the next goal for team USA! A shot by McDonagh went wide, Van Riemsdyk got the puck behind the net and wrapped it around to stuff it through Price’s five hole which magically opened. The USA with a ton of pressure on the forecheck and only the post prevented the Canadians from falling behind even more. Big slap shot from the point by Shattenkirk, deflection, goal! But the refs waived it off to review a potential kicking motion by Kesler who deflected the puck in. But the call stands, a good goal and a 3:0 lead for team USA with only 5 seconds to go in the first.
Cary Price let in 3 goals on 5 shots, with two goals caused by his own mistakes. So he stayed on the bench after the first intermission and Roberto Luongo, gold medal winning goalie of 2010, got his first minutes of the 2014 Olympics. The Canadians were finally able to add some pressure to their game, but they ran into a hot Ryan Miller who seemed to be unbeatable tonight. Patrick Kane made it 4:0 after a rebound. No fault on Luongo who got the initial shot, but was unable to recover to save the puck a second time. The Canadian defense looked way out of place. And they continued to score! Kane with his second of the night beating Luongo top shelf on his stick side. Once again no fault on Luongo, but the Canadian defense was again unable to control the game. Kane was skating cycles around them to score.
As the third started, the game was over. There was no way Canada could overcome a five goal deficit. The USA played it safe and 5 minutes into the third Kane got a hat trick dancing through the Canadian defense and burying the puck low on the stick side. A couple of chances for the Canadians, but Miller was once again there when needed. He definitely earned his shutout tonight.
What is the old saying: offense gets you goals, but defense wins games and tournaments. The Canadian defense was unable to defend the relentless attacks of Team USA and lost in blameable fashion. Patrick Kane’s hat trick was definitely the highlight of the game, but Price’s first period breakdown was the beginning of the end for Canada’s gold medal dream.
Austria (7) vs. Sweden (3) 1:2
Shots: 10 – 21
Hits: 6 – 12
PIMs: 0:00 – 0:00
1st Nicklas Backstrom (GWG)
2nd Niklas Kronwall (2A, 28:42 Min)
3rd Erik Karlsson (1G, 4 Shots, 28:45 Min)
Surprisingly, Austria made it into the quarterfinals just to face off against my personal favorite Sweden. Austria had their first scoring chance two minutes into the game, but the shooter got stoned by Henrik Lundqvist! There were chances for both teams, Sweden was unable to force the game in their direction. A hard fought game until the end of the first period. Neither team scored and neither team could get an advantage.
The second period started as boring as the first ended, as Erik Karlsson, the young Swedish blueliner, broke the tie with an end-to-end rush dangling through Austria’s defense shooting the puck past Austria’s goalie. It seems that Sweden got their legs moving. They forced turnovers, were hard on the puck and outplayed Austria at this stage of the game.
The Twins caused all kinds of havoc at the start of the third. Maybe it’s just because there are two of them. How knows? The Swedes made it 2:0 after Nicklas Backstrom pounded in a rebound from a Kronwallian point shot. But Austria answered as both Swedish defensemen went into the corner to challenge an Austrian player who smartly passed the puck into an empty slot where Kalt picked the puck up and put it past Lundqvist. Daniel Sedin could have taken the game away, but missed the puck low in the slot with just a minute to go. Shortly after, Austria pulled their goalie, but that move had no effect on the outcome of this one. Sweden moves to the next round!
Switzerland (6) vs. Czech Republic (4) 3:1
Shots: 16 – 15
Hits: 2 – 14
PIMs: 0:00 – 0:00
1st Reto Suri (2 Pts, GWG)
2nd Damien Brunner (1G, +2)
3rd Kevin Romy (2A, +2)
Last of the quarterfinals and again a match where the winner should be clear. The Swiss team has played a great tournament, but so has the Czech Republic.
With 7 minutes played the Swiss got the first one on the board as Hollenstein got a nice feed from the corner and found himself all alone in the slot. No chance for Pavelec whose defenders left him all alone. Just like Sweden, the Czechs were always one step too slow throughout the first period. They only had two shots on goal after several games where there offense was dominant.
A the start of the second period, the Czechs added some pressure but the Swiss toke advantage of a turnover, got in front of the opposing net and Damien Brunner banged in an ugly goal to make it 2:0. Hiller had a spectacular save on a deflected shot. Shortly after, Voracek cut the lead in half as he skated around the net and put one into the net. 2:1 with more than 30 minutes left of hockey. A lot of north-south-play while both teams tried to get the next goal. The second ended with a couple of great saves by Pavelec who kept the Czechs in the game.
The third period started just like that. No team seemed to be eager spending more time in the neutral zone than they need to. Good saves on both ends of the ice as the game continued. Also a lot of scrums, shoves, pushes. The Swiss team failed to score on a 3-on-2 as the Czechs caught flat footed on the Swiss’ blueline. With a minutes left to go the Swiss made it 3:1 as Suri deflected one past Pavelec and that’s all she wrote!
Clearly a disappointing loss for the Czech Republic! Switzerland is surly happy to continue their Olympic journey.
That’s it for the quarterfinals! Check back tomorrow for more EA NHL 2014 simulation action ;-)