The men’s side of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Hockey Tournament has had some interesting upsets, as the qualifying round and quarterfinals have already shown us.
After a bit of a scare against China, where the Canadians were faced with a Chinese team that for the first 20 minutes went toe to toe with them, to Denmark’s surprising run, to today’s jaw-dropper as the top seeded USA squad is out after losing in the shootout to Slovakia. I blame CNN and their ‘Miracle on Ice’ tweet for that one.
What it does is present Canada with a decent path for a shot at a medal, but they have to overcome what might be their toughest opponent since they lost 4-2 to the Americans as they take on Sweden. The Swedes had a 3-0 lead after two periods in their final preliminary round game, and left stunned as the Finns stormed back in the third to tie it before getting the winner in OT.
The Swedes have a few former NHLers in their mix, and like most of the teams in the tournament it seems, they have a former Canuck, D Oscar Fantenburg.
Canada advanced to the QF’s with a 7-2 win over China that wasn’t as easy as the score would suggest. Adam Tambellini had a four point night with 2G and 2A, whil Jordan Weal scored two of Canada’s four PPGs, and G Matt Tomkins appears to have locked down the starting position with another solid performance, stopping 27 of 29 shots. China got two goals from Cory Kane in the loss, one of them on the PP. It was the first time the Canadians had been unable to kill off a penalty in the tournament.
Getting the PP rolling will help them against the Swedes, who got into penalty trouble against Finland, and it cost them the game. Tomkins will need to be lights out again to advance to the semis and a shot at a medal.
The other quarterfinal matches today saw Denmark fall 3-1 to the R.O.C., ending a pretty impressive tournament for the Danes. Slovakia’s Marek Hrivik scored with 44 seconds remaining to send it to OT before they knocked off the heavily favoured Americans in the shootout winning 3-2. The Slovaks killed off five straight penalties after the Americans had taken a 2-1 lead before the last minute comeback. And Finland is through to the semis as they cruised to a 5-1 victory over Switzerland.
The women’s gold medal game is tonight, as Canada and the USA square off in what should be another legendary match in one of the greatest rivalries in sports. We’ll have a thread for that one this evening, the game starts at 8:10pm Pacific.