Vote: Will Canada or U.S. win men's Olympic hockey semifinal?
Team Canada, U.S. to clash at 12 p.m. ET on cbc.ca/olympics
It’s the matchup that has hockey fans salivating: Team Canada vs. Team USA.
No doubt, the U.S. is out for revenge for what happened in 2010 when they lost the gold medal game to Canada in overtime.
Yes, their next tilt is a semifinal and a medal is not officially at stake when the two countries clash Friday in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome (streaming live at CBC.ca/Olympics at noon ET), but the game has added meaning.
Canada is trying to follow up on the women’s emotional gold medal win over the U.S. on Thursday, and both teams enter the semis after much different quarter-final wins.
The Canadians survived a scare from a surprisingly pesky Latvian squad with a 2-1 win, and the Americans had a much easier time in ousting the Czech Republic. They earned a 5-2 win Wednesday.
We want to know who you think will win. Vote in our poll and let us know why you made your choice in the comments section below.
But before you do, here are a few things to consider:
The good: The Canadians’ goaltending has been strong. Carey Price has seized the starting role, giving up just three goals over the three games he has played in, going undefeated in that span. The Canadian defencemen, especially Drew Doughty and Shea Weber, have also been exceptional. They’ve scored seven of Canada’s 13 tournament goals so far.
The bad: Scoring, chemistry and injuries. Aside from Jeff Carter’s three-goal outburst in the round-robin against Austria, Canadian forwards have struggled offensively. Three players – Doughty, Weber and Carter – have combined to score 10 of Canada’s 13 goals. That’s 77 per cent of the offence from three guys. Canada has been juggling its lines, trying to find a way to get guys like Sidney Crosby going. But they’ll have to do more shuffling as sniper John Tavares will be out for the tournament – and NHL season – with a torn MCL and meniscus in his left knee.
The good: Balanced scoring and great goaltending. The Americans have looked like a well-oiled machine thus far, fuelled in large part by Toronto Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel’s tournament-leading five goals. Five different players scored against the Czechs in their semifinal win, for example, and 12 different U.S. players have scored goals. Jonathan Quick has emerged as the go-to starter and has rewarded his country with a 1.62 goals-against average.
The bad: Have the Americans truly been tested? In their only tough game, they needed a lengthy shootout to beat the Russians, who have since been eliminated.
The Americans have medalled twice since 1998 in men’s Olympic hockey. Both of them were silver medals, losing gold to Canada in 2002 and 2010.