Update, US Men’s Hockey Olympic Results:
Quarterfinals – USA 5, Czech Rebublic 2
In their first knock out game the United States didn’t skip a beat. The US goals again came from a wide variety of players with five different players accounting for the goals. Ryan Suter lead the team in points notching three assists. Now the US will take on rivals Canada in the semi finals. Since the NHL started sending players to the Olympics Canada has beaten the US three of the four times they played including the 2002 and 2010 gold medal games.
Group A game 3 – USA 5, Slovenia 1
Team USA finished group play on Sunday with a win over Slovenia. Phil Kessel scored three goals for the first USA Olympic hat trick since 2002. With the win USA secured the top spot in group A and an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.
Group A game 2 – USA 3, Russia 2 (SO)
USA’s most anticipated game of group play surpassed all the expectations to became the most exciting hockey game of the Sochi Olympics so far. USA and Russia battled to a 2-2 tie through regulation and overtime leading to a shootout. In the eighth round of the shootout Jonathan Quick made his fifth save of the shootout before T.J. Oshie, who took 6 of the 8 shots for team USA, scored his fourth shootout goal to give USA the victory.
Group A game 1 – USA 7, Slovakia 1
The American men got a big win to start their Olympic campaign. The team scored six unanswered goals in the second period tying a team record for one period. A total of six players accounted for the seven goals with Paul Stastny netting two.
In 2010 the United States men’s hockey team came up just short of spoiling Canada’s party but instead went home with the team’s 8th Olympic silver medal. As the players prepare for the start of the men’s hockey tournament in Sochi, the United States is again looking to play the role of spoiler to the host country.
The 2014 team USA will have a total of 13 players returning from the 2010 silver medal team. Joining them will be 12 new faces most of them on defense where six of the eight defensemen will see their first Olympic action.
Ryan Miller – goalie
Jonathan Quick – goalie
Jimmy Howard – goalie
Brooks Orpik – defense
Ryan Suter – defense
John Carlson – defense
Justin Faulk – defense
Cam Fowler – defense
Paul Martin – defense
Ryan McDonagh – defense
Kevin Shattenkirk – defense
David Backes – forward
Dustin Brown – forward
Ryan Callahan – forward
Patrick Kane – forward
Ryan Kesler – forward
Phil Kessel – forward
Zach Parise – forward
Joe Pavelski – forward
Paul Stastny – forward
T.J. Oshie – forward
Max Pacioretty – forward
Derek Stepan – forward
James van Riemsdyk – forward
Blake Wheeler – forward
With the lack of Olympic experience at defense, outside of Ryan Suter and Brooks Orpik, much of the pressure will fall on the shoulders of the goaltenders. Both probable starters Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick are used to the pressure and have performed on the big stage. Miller backstopped team USA in all the games during the 2010 games and was named the MVP of the games. Quick was lights out for the Kings in the 2012 playoffs only losing 4 games on the way to winning the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.
Upfront the Americans are loaded with talent and experience led by Captain Zach Parise who scored the last minute goal to force overtime in the 2010 final. Also returning from the 2010 team is Patrick Kane who has only improved since his last Olympic appearance winning two Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks. Kane also won a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013. Winning gold would be extra sweet for Kane who is playing with the memory of his grandfather who died Feb. 3, just days before Kane left for Sochi.
Team USA will face an uphill battle from the start as they are in a group with two other medal contenders including the host country of Russia. However you can’t ever count out team USA no matter how bad the odds look. Just ask Vladislav Tretiak, who helped light the Olympic Flame at the Opening Ceremonies.