Blackhawks’ Olympic Effort: Day 2
After a strong showing of team Finland early on in day 2 of the men’s hockey tournament at the Sochi Olympics, it was time for team USA (Patrick Kane) to face team Slovakia (Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus). And it ended up being an unbalanced game, with team USA taking the lead early and keeping it all through the game. It was a fast-paced game, and the US team seems to have find a very strong offense quickly.
Team USA opened up the scoring in the first with a goal from John Carson, which was swiftly tallied up by Slovakia’s Tomas Tatar, 20 seconds into the 2nd period. But then, the US took over, and went on scoring 6 unanswered goals against Slovakia’s goaltenders - St Louis Blues’ Jaroslav Halak was replaced by Peter Budaj after the 5th American goal.
Ryan Kesler, assisted by Kane, scored the 2nd US goal. Paul Stastny, who scored 2 in his Olympic debut, went on to score the 3rd and 5th goals, while David Backes got the 4th. Less than a minute after Stastny’s 2nd goal, Phil Kessel scored, making it a 6-1 game. And a minute later, it was Dustin Brown’s turn to score, with Patrick Kane receiving an assist on the play.
The 3rd period was goalless, and the game ended 7-1 for the USA, who, like Finland, get a very strong first showing in their Olympic campaign for gold. USA’s next game is Saturday, against Russia, which will probably be a much closer contest.
Russia faced Slovenia at the same time as the USA/Slovakia game, and won 5-2, in a close game that saw LA Kings’ forward Anze Kopitar sometimes triple-shifting for his national team, coached by his father. Russian powerhouses Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin both have a goal, as well as Dallas Stars’ rookie Valerie Nichushkin.
FInland played Austria earlier on, and a game that was led on by Austria at the start of the 1st quickly turned to Finland’s favor, only to end 8-4 for the Finns. Austria and NHLer Michael Grabner scored a hat trick, while Pittsburgh Penguins’ rookie defenseman Olli Maatta scored a goal in his Olympic debut, and his NHL teammate Jussi Jokinen also got himself on the scoreboard. Michael Granlund scored twice.
Finally, the last game of the day was Norway facing Canada, for which three Blackhawks players were selected - d-man Duncan Keith, forward Patrick Sharp and Captain Jonathan Toews, sporting an ‘A’ for the tournament.
The 1st period was slightly shaky for the Canadian team, who are defending their 2010 Vancouver Olympics gold medal, and ended scoreless. But they came out strong in the 2nd period, keeping possession of the puck and dominating the play all through the 20 minutes. It took 26 minutes of the game for a goal to be scored, and it was from Canada’s defenseman Shea Weber, who launched a rocket past Norway’s goaltender, Lars Haugen. Keith was awarded an assist on the play, as well as Patrice Bergeron.
9 minutes later, Bergeron fed Dallas Stars Captain Jamie Benn a pass that Benn shot straight in the net, getting the Canadians up 2-0, which was the score at the end of the 2nd period.
The 3rd period saw the Norwegians score 22 seconds into the period, while Duncan Keith was sitting in the penalty box for holding, a penalty he got at the very end of the 2nd. But it only took a little over a minute for the Canadians to restore their 2-goal difference back, thanks to LA Kings D-man Drew Doughty.
This would be the end of the game; the last 10 minutes, team Canada held on to their goal differential, and despite some good chances, didn’t score any more. Tomorrow, Canada will face Austria.
Tomorrow’s games featuring Blackhawks players: