Men's ice hockey will continue to roll along Friday, as Canada is set to take on Austria in a battle of podium hopefuls from Group B of the tournament. So far, the 2014 Olympics have featured plenty of enticing matchups, and that will continue on Day 7 of the Winter Games.
Team Canada got off to a great start Thursday, beating Norway by a score of 3-1. The same cannot be said for Austria, which will look to right the ship Friday after losing its opening game to Finland by a score of 8-4.
After the opening games of the men's tournament, here is how Group B currently stands:
|Men's Ice Hockey: Group B Standings|
|Team||Played||Wins||Losses||Goals For||Goals Against||Points|
Let's take a look at all of the necessary viewing and live stream information as well as give an outlook and final prediction for this matchup.
What: Men's Ice Hockey Group B: Canada vs. Austria
When: Friday, Feb. 14
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
TV Time: 12 p.m. EST
Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com
Canada looked as strong as ever during its first contest against Norway. After a slow start in the first period, the team rallied, scoring twice within a 10-minute span on the sticks of Shea Weber and Jamie Benn.
The team allowed Norway to get back into the game early in the third period, as the Norwegians found the back of the net and saw themselves within one goal. However, that was short lived when, just one minute later, Drew Doughty capped off the game with a goal of his own for Canada.
Doughty shared his thoughts on his team's performance during an interview with Larry Lage of The Associated Press (via The Sacramento Bee): "Kind of a bad first period, we knew we weren't going to be perfect. But the most important thing is we got better as each period went on and that's what we were looking for."
Sidney Crosby weighed in as well: "Every team here is good, and we know we have to get better as things go on. But I thought second and third we definitely got to our game a lot more."
The Canadians showed a great balance of offensive firepower and defensive prowess in their opening contest. They scored three times on 38 shots and only allowed one goal, saving 19 shots.
Austria did not share the same start to the tournament, as it allowed a strong Finland offense to get through its defense early and often.
Over the first period of play, it appeared as though Austria would be a formidable opponent; Michael Grabner drew first blood only 36 seconds into the game. After trading goals, making the score 2-1 in Austria's favor in the first period, the defense began to fall apart.
Finland scored the next five goals of the match, as Austria was unable to find the back of the net again until the game was well out of hand in the third period.
Despite scoring four goals, Austria was not able to generate much offense, only taking 20 shots on goal. The defense was equally as lackluster. It was unable to contain Finland, allowing 52 shots on goal.
Heading into a matchup against a high-octane Canadian offense, that does not bode well for the Austrians.
These teams find themselves at opposite ends of the spectrum right now. Canada may have started its opening contest slowly, but it certainly improved as time went on. It successfully established itself as one of the top teams in the competition.
Austria, on the other hand, started nicely but struggled more and more throughout the remainder of the contest. It does not have any sort of momentum heading into its matchup against Canada.
At the moment, it seems as though it would take a miracle for this underdog to top the mighty Canadians.
Canada 6, Austria 2