Late in the first period, Dustin Brown found the back of the net to give the United States men’s hockey team a lead over the Czech Republic that expanded to a 5-2 domination by the time the last horn blew.
The victory put the U.S. hockey team into the semifinal round where they’ll play Canada Friday, in a rematch of the 2010 gold-medal game that Canada won in overtime. For those of you with normal sleeping patterns, the 7:30 a.m. puck-drop on almost every game to this point was probably well within your “still asleep” time. So, we here at the sports section of The Collegian thought we’d fill you in on the action so far, with a brief recap of the first four games before Friday’s semifinal.
The U.S. team’s first game was a matchup against Slovakia, a team led by National Hockey League stars Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara. Entering the tournament, many hockey analysts expected the U.S. team to feature strong goal tending from Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, but doubted the team’s ability to put up big offensive numbers. Quick held up his end of the bargain, stopping 22 of 23 shots, and the U.S. offense put to shame predictions of a low-powered offense as six different players scored goals and the team rolled to a 7-1 victory.
In game two, T.J. Oshie became a household name for Americans, as the U.S. took advantage of a strange rule that allows teams to repeat shooters in sudden-death shootouts after three rounds. Strange or not, head coach Dan Bylsma used the rule to send Oshie out to shoot six times against Russia. The center from the St. Louis Blues beat the Russian goalie four of the six times to carry the U.S. team to a 3-2 victory.
Despite the down-to-the-wire action in game two, the rest of the tournament has been a breeze for the U.S. men. Phil Kessel scored three of his five tournament goals for a hat trick in game three against Slovenia, while Ryan Miller got the start in net and carried a shutout through all but 17 seconds of the 5-1 win, leading into Wednesday’s elimination game against the Czech Republic.
The 5-2 win over the Czech Republic proved to be another easy one, with James van Riemsdyk scoring for the Americans a minute and a half into the game. Although the Czech team would tie it up on a goal that came off of U.S. defenseman Ryan Suter’s skates, they would have little reason to celebrate as Brown’s goal late in the first took back a lead that held the rest of the way.
With that, one of the best matchups of the tournament was set. The puck drops for the Canada-U.S. game at noon Eastern time on the NBC Sports Network. Be sure to tune in.
Contact Collegian Reporter Jeremy Day at firstname.lastname@example.org