A recap of the Pyeongchang men’s and women’s hockey tournaments, with a focus on Team USA’s gold-medal quests.

Three Stars

1. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, USA

History was made in Team USA’s 5-0 win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia when the three-time Olympian scored two goals in six seconds in the second period to set an Olympic hockey record for players of any gender. The original mark of eight seconds was set by Sweden’s Carl Goran Oberg at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. Lamoureux-Davidson’s second goal will stand as one of the filthiest of the tournament:

2. Marie-Philip Poulin, Canada

Olympic athletes are used to being showered with gifts when they arrive on site. Well, Finland captain Jenni Hiirikoski gave one to Poulin in the first period of their game, and the Canadian hockey star buried it top shelf for a backbreaking goal that made it 2-0 in the first period. The tally came after Canada killed off two consecutive Finnish power plays. Canada defeated the Finns 4-1.

3. Noora Raty, Finland

Once again, the star goalie did all she could to keep her overmatched team in the game. After giving the Americans a small scare in the opener, Raty saw her team outshot 24-10 through two periods against Canada. She will hopefully get another crack at one of the superpowers in the medal round. Perhaps by then, the announcers will figure out how to pronounce her name. (For the record, it’s “Nor-uh Rah-too.”)

Bust of the day

After losing 5-0 to Canada in their opener, the Olympic Athletes from Russia looked about as disorganized as a team can look as the Americans scored three goals in 2:52 to blow their preliminary game wide open. On Lamoureux-Davidson’s second goal, it appeared the entire Russian defense was looking for a contact lens on the ice. It was that bad.

Controversy of the day

Does the Statue of Liberty qualify as “the wording or lyrics from national anthems, motivational words, public/political messaging or slogans related to national identity?”

Turns out, it does not in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee, which had initially requested that Lady Liberty be removed from the masks of U.S. goalies Nicole Hensley and Alex Rigsby. The IOC informed the Americans before their game against OAR that a universally accepted symbol of freedom was not, in fact, nationalist propaganda and that the masks did not have to be altered.

Please recall the 2014 Sochi Games, in which the IOC had Team USA goalie Jessie Vetter remove the preamble to the Constitution from her mask and had men’s goalie Jonathan Quick cover up the phrase “Support the Troops” on his mask.

What’s up with the U.S. women’s team?

The U.S. played a better all-around game against OAR than it did versus Finland, with sparks of the offensive creativity the team will need against Canada. The team has to be pleased with the way the line of Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Kelly Pannek is rolling early in this tournament, having generated three of the squad’s eight goals thus far. Not bad for a “third line.”

Up next: Their Group A showdown with archrival Canada on Feb. 15. Please note that the game will be shown live on Feb. 14 in the U.S. at 10:10 p.m. ET.

What’s up with the U.S. men’s team?

Ryan Zapolski was named the starter in goal for Team USA’s Olympic opener against Slovenia on Feb. 14. This was expected, as the 31-year-old Erie, Pennsylvania, native has posted stellar numbers (1.73 GAA, .932 save percentage) with Jokerit in the KHL and is very familiar with the angles of Olympic-sized ice, having played overseas since 2013.

“It’s such a short tournament that I think the goalie is the most important player for every team. They’re going to be tight games, not only with the way the tournament is set up but because of the uncertainty on the rosters,” he told ESPN last month. “When NHL players are there, it’s three or four teams that have a chance. Here, it’s wide open.”

In the next 24 hours

Women’s hockey Group B: Sweden vs. Switzerland (Feb. 13, 10:10 p.m. ET); Korea vs. Japan (Feb. 14, 2:40 a.m. ET)
Men’s hockey Group B: Slovakia vs. OAR (Feb. 14, 7:10 a.m. ET); U.S. vs. Slovenia (Feb. 14, 7:10 a.m. ET)

Our first look at the Olympic Athletes from Russia team that features former NHL stars, such as Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. The Russians are even-money favorites to win Olympic gold.

Previously: Our Olympic medal picks for the 2018 hockey tournaments.



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY