2014 Winter Olympics: grudge match

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The United States and Canada alongside Sweden and Finland are headed towards rematches of their gold medal games from Olympics past as they beat their quarterfinals opponents.

Today's quarterfinals were quite a show featuring some of the best play so far in the Olympics. A strong effort by Latvia nearly put them over the top in their game against Canada. Finland's win over Russia solidified the team as a real contender and helped guarantee that the Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, can at least have a solid shot at a medal in what will be his last Olympics. Sweden and the United States scored five goals apiece in their wins and helped create a peculiar bracket situation.

When the semifinal games are played on Feb. 21 it will feature the last two Olympic gold medal matchups. Sweden and Finland met for gold in Torino and the United States and Canada in Vancouver. But now we focus on today's quarterfinals games and what helped make this odd scenario possible.

Men's Hockey

United States vs. Czech Republic


1st

2nd

3rd

Final

USA

3

1

1

5

CZE

1

0

1

2

Goals:
USA:
James van Riemsdyk, Dustin Brown, David Backes, Zach Parise (PPG), Phil Kessel
CZE: Ales Hemsky (2)

A solid first period effort put the United States ahead of the Czech Republic and helped the US move on to the semifinals and the first meeting of the Team USA and Team Canada Olympic teams since 2010. Dustin Brown notched the game winner at 14:38 after goals from James van Riemsdyk and Ales Hemsky had both teams tied at one with less than five minutes gone in the first period.

Los Angeles Kings starter Jonathan Quick had 21 saves on 23 shots while Ondrej Pavelec was replaced by Alexander Salak midway through the second period as when the United States had a 4-1 lead. Coyotes Martin Hanzal and Zbynek Michalek will return to Phoenix without a medal.

This is the second consecutive time the United States has made it past the quarterfinals.

Canada vs. Latvia


1st

2nd

3rd

Final

CAN

1

0

1

2

LAT

1

0

0

1

Goals:
CAN:
Patrick Sharp, Shea Weber (PPG)
LAT: Lauris Darzins

Buffalo Sabres coach, and Canadian national, Ted Nolan has been one of the great storylines of this Olympic hockey season. He lead a team that few would have thought would make it past the qualifying rounds to Sochi and all the way to the quarterfinals. Even up till the last minutes of the third it looked like Latvia might just have a chance of completing its underdog tale. But then, Canada went on the powerplay and Shea Weber scored the game winning goal with less seven minutes left. Latvia never recovered.

To their credit, they made it all the way to the quarterfinals against a team that, at least on paper, should have wiped the floor with them. Though Carey Price stopped 15 of the 16 shots he faced Latvia's Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 55 of the 57 shots. Where Latvia got off one shot every four minutes Canada had nearly one per minute.

Canada will now face the United States in hopes of reaching, once again, the gold medal game and recapturing the fire they had in 2010. However, this time they'll have to win without John Tavares who will miss the rest of the games due to injury.

Sweden vs. Slovenia


1st

2nd

3rd

Final

SWE

1

0

4

5

SLO

0

0

0

0

Goals:
SWE:
Alex Steen (PPG), Daniel Sedin, Loui Eriksson, Carl Hagelin (2)
SLO: N/A

The Swedes might just start celebrating New York Rangers Day after today's performances by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and winger Carl Hagelin. Lundqvist once again had a spectacular game as he helped Sweden secure victory in this 5-0 shutout and Hagelin had two goals in the last half of the third period.

Phoenix Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson ended the game with a plus-two rating and one shot on goal but was only granted 9:09 of ice time now that he's no longer playing with Erik Karlsson. However, he is now one of the three Coyotes remaining heading into the semifinals alongside Mike Smith (who has yet to play) and Lauri Korpikoski.

Finland vs. Russia


1st

2nd

3rd

Final

FIN

2

1

0

3

RUS

1

0

0

1

Goals:
FIN:
Juhamatti Aaltonen, Teemu Selanne, Mikael Granlund
RUS: Ilya Kovalchuk (PPG)

Thursday's game will mark four years to the day since Finland last played Sweden in the Olympics, but it wouldn't have been possible without some serious help from the Selanne/Granlund line. The mixture of old and new were involved in two of Finland's three goals including the game winner that came near the end of the first period. Granlund then sealed the deal early in the third on a powerplay goal.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov was pulled after he let that last Granlund goal through and top cop on the force Sergei Bobrovsky was put on the case. Though he didn't allow a goal in the 16 minutes he was on the ice his Russian companions did little to help as Ilya Kovalchuk's lone goal in the first marked the beginning of 52 shutout minutes for Tuukka Rask.

Finland has earned at least the bronze medal in every Olympics since 1994 with the exception of the 2002 games in Utah when they were eliminated by Canada in the quarterfinals. The Canadians later went on to beat the United States 5-2 in the gold medal game.

Women's Hockey

The bronze and gold medal games will be played tomorrow:

Games

Time

Network

Sweden vs. Switzerland

(Bronze Medal Game)

5:00am

NBCSN

Canada vs. United States

(Gold Medal Game)

10:00am

NBC


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