Day 5 brought yet another exciting day on the ice for women's hockey while introducing the men back to the ice for the first time during the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Group A in the women's bracket continued as Canada pulled off the mild upset over Team USA, 3-2, in a battle between the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the world. As for the other teams in the group, Finland took a 4-3 win over Switzerland after both teams were demolished by USA and Canada.
On the men's side, Group C got underway as Sweden and Switzerland got wins in their Olympic openers. Team USA and Team Canada will begin their Olympic journeys on Day 6 against Slovakia and Norway, respectively, but they had to sit and watch their women's teams battle it out on Wednesday.
With all of the action finally coming to a close, here is a look at the current standings and all of the action from Sochi.
It was billed as the Stanley Cup of women's hockey, but Team USA fell short of the mark in a 3-2 loss at the hands of Team Canada.
While both teams had already clinched a bye into the semifinals, Kevin Allen of USA Today notes that the rivalry still fueled both teams. American forward Monique Lamoureux made it very clear that every game against Canada is meaningful:
Any game against Canada, whether you are playing in Timbuktu, with no one in the stands, or playing in front of 12,000 or 15,000 people, you get up for it. Obviously, it's going to create some little fights and stuff like that, but it's just part of the game.
Will Team USA win gold in women's hockey?
Hilary Knight once again punched in the first goal for the U.S. on a power play in the second period, but it would not be enough as they had to pull the goaltender at the end just to score a second goal.
Charline Labonte was brilliant for the Canadians in goal despite the two goals she allowed. On the other side, Jessie Vetter also stood on her head but was not able to stop everything in the loss.
The goal that ultimately set the two teams apart was the second goal for the Canadians, as it appeared Vetter trapped the puck, but it slipped past her and went into the net. But it sounded like the whistle blew from the referee before the puck passed the line, as USA Hockey Scores points out:
Puck ends up in the net after slipping out of a prone Vetter, but we heard a whistle prior to the puck crossing into the goal. Under review— USA Hockey (@USAHockeyScores) February 12, 2014
Despite the loss for the U.S., the two teams will likely meet up once again later on in the tournament in the gold-medal match on Feb. 20.
Apart from the U.S.-Canada game, there was also an exciting matchup between Finland and Switzerland. Despite coming out on top in the overtime win, Finland goalie Noora Raty was not pleased with her team's performance in the Olympics thus far, according to Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press:
It's always important to get the first win. But I'm not happy with the way we played.
We weren't really expecting to get a win against the U.S. and Canada. That would have been a plus. [...] Got too many scoring chances from my point of view. The thing we're going to see now is how you're going to learn from your mistakes.
The 2010 bronze medalists barely survived, but they are still a contender in the Olympics moving forward. If they can find some sort of offense against better teams, the Finns will be a team to watch out for thanks to their defense and goalie play.
While the U.S. men didn't take the ice on Day 5, men's hockey did kick off on Wednesday with the two higher seeds both coming out on top.
The Swedes controlled the Czech Republic throughout the entire game with a 4-2 win, but the controversy started before the two teams ever hit the ice, as Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet reports:
More unrest around the Czech hockey team: Ondrej Pavelec won't play the tournament-opener against Sweden tomorrow. He's not even dressing.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 11, 2014
The Winnipeg Jets goaltender was expected to be one of the starters for the Czech team, but he apparently was a healthy scratch against the No. 1 team in the world.
Erik Karlsson scored two goals for the Swedes, while Henrik Zetterberg added another to secure the opener. Sweden is one of the top teams in the tournament and is believed to be a contender to take the gold medal along with Canada, Russia and USA.
The other game taking place on Day 5 was much closer, as Simon Moser scored the lone goal for the Swiss in a win over Latvia.
Both goalies put together stellar performances, but Moser's goal with just eight seconds left on the clock made it impossible for the Latvians to stage a comeback, as the International Ice Hockey Foundation's official Twitter account notes:
Switzerland's game-winner v Latvia. Shot from Simon Moser (not pictured) was deflected into own net by Pujacs. pic.twitter.com/6JA2b7joyE— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) February 12, 2014
With the U.S., Canada and other favorites in the tournament taking the rink on Day 6, action is only expected to heat up even more. And with a field as deep as the men's bracket, there is sure to be more surprises than on the women's side.
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