Blackhawks' Olympic Effort: Day 7
The quarterfinals day started with Sweden playing Slovenia, the underdog of the competition so far, along with Latvia. The Swedes dominated the game from the beginning of the first, and kept the game in their hands throughout, even with a solid effort from Slovenia.
The game would end 5-0 for Sweden, taking them safely to the semifinals. Alexander Steen, Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson and Carl Hagelin would be the goalscorers for Sweden, with Hagelin with two. Blackhawks’ Johnny Oduya got an assist on Eriksson’s goal.
They will face Finland in the semifinals, who won in an upset against team Russia, one of the very favorites of the tournament, playing on home ice, with major names on the team, like NHLers Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and KHLer Ilya Kovalchuk.
The team would struggle being coherent together, and their defence would suffer from it, despite strong goaltending from both Semyon Varlamov and Sergei Bobrovski. Finland was working with a system, tight offence that they pulled back to keep playing defensively once they got a 2 goal lead in the 2nd period. Mikael Granlund, Teemu Selanne and Juhamatti Aaltonen were the goalscorers for Finland, while Ilya Kovalchuk scored the lone Russian goal, for a 3-1 game.
The other two semifinals would be evening games in Russia: USA/Czech Republic and Canada/Latvia.
The USA would open scoring very early on with a James van Riemsdyk goal, for which Patrick Kane notched an assist, less than 2 minutes into the game. But the Czechs would respond right away thanks to Ales Hemsky, making it 1-1 at the beginning of the 1st period. Dustin Brown, captain of the LA Kings, would score a 2nd goal in the first, allowing the USA to take the lead. David Backes would score again to give the USA a 2 goal lead just before the end of the 1st.
Halfway through the 2nd, Zach Parise scored a 4th goal for the USA, but it would be the only goal in the period. The 3rd would just reinforce the USA’s dominance, with a 5th goal scored by Phil Kessel. The Czechs would get another goal, once again scored by Hemsky, but it would not be enough.
Latvia was very aggressive from the get-go against Canada, but they couldn’t get past goaltender Carey Price, while Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp got Canada on the scoreboard 13 minutes in the first period, on a pass from Rick Nash. Two minutes later, Latvia’s Lauris Darzins scored, making it a 1-1 game.
Through the second, despite Canada outscoring Latvia by a large margin, they would not be able to get the puck in the net, and the game would still be locked at 1-1 after 40 minutes. The third would see a disallowed goal for Canada, where the replay showed a Latvian player’s hand covering the puck and pulling it back, but no penalty shot would be called. Canada though would not give up and keep attacking Latvia, and Shea Weber would find the back of the net 13 minutes in the 3rd period, during a powerplay. It would be enough for them to win the game, a hard-fought game where Latvia gave their all, and where their goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis was absolutely stellar.
The USA will face Canada on Friday, and so will Sweden and Finland.