Before the men’s hockey tournament started at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, we reviewed the chances of Team USA winning a medal. We liked how the team was put together, with a focus on teamwork and defensive two-way players. As a result of the men’s hockey quarterfinals, Team USA will face off against Team Canada on Friday, Feb. 21 in one semifinal.
Team USA won their quarterfinal game against Team Czech Republic 5-2, while Canada eked out a 2-1 victory over Team Latvia; the gold medal chances for both teams increased when the Team Russia fell to Team Finland. The other semifinal game features a red-hot and highly talented Team Sweden against Finland. Not many people had been talking about Finland, but they have quietly made it to the semifinals.
The winner of the men’s hockey game between the U.S. and Canada will advance to the gold medal game. Interestingly, in women’s hockey, Team USA plays Canada for gold on Thursday, Feb. 20.
As background, teams were seeded after advancing from their respective groups — based on performance. So far, the seeding has played out according to form, with almost all higher seeds advancing in the tournament. Although the Russians entered the tournament as a favorite to win gold, No. 4 Finland defeated No. 5 Russia in the quarterfinals 3-1. The Russians didn’t go down without a fight, however, outshooting Finland 38-22.
The seedings of the four semifinalists are:
- 1. Sweden
- 2. USA
- 3. Canada
- 4. Finland
Friday’s semifinal matchup between the U.S. and Canada will be played at 12pm ET in the U.S. Although Team USA has been playing well, they enter the game as a slight underdog. It is noteworthy that one of Canada’s top players, New York Islanders‘ star John Tavares, was injured in Canada’s quarterfinal victory. Tavares, the NHL‘s third-leading scorer, will miss the remainder of the Olympics.
Sweden is favored in the other semifinal game. The winners of the semifinals meet in the Gold Medal game to be played Sunday morning (ET). The other two semifinalists meet in the Bronze Medal game on Saturday morning.
Carlton Chin is a portfolio manager, quant researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.