Canada, Sweden and Finland all maintained their status as serious medal contenders in men's hockey with victories on Day 7. The Czech Republic also picked up a win to get back on track after dropping its Olympic opener to the Swedes.
The action was vastly different between the two groups. Group C had two very competitive games early, and Group B had a pair of blowouts late. Looking ahead, the eight teams that played today only have one game remaining in round-robin play. Group A teams have two left.
Knowing that, let's check out all of the results from the third day of the men's hockey competition. It's followed by an updated look at the standings from all three groups and a recap of Friday's games.
Day 7 Men's Hockey Scores
|Men's Hockey - Day 7 Results|
Updated Group Standings
The day's action started with a Czech Republic squad trying to get back on track going up against Latvia, which lost its opener on goal with eight seconds left against Switzerland. The Czech Republic lost to Sweden in its first game of the Olympics.
It was a highly entertaining battle for the first two periods. The Czechs grabbed a one-goal lead twice only to see Latvia strike back to level the score. The Group C underdogs have certainly established themselves as a feisty group to play against in the early going.
One of the goal scorers in that group was longtime Olympic and NHL star Jaromir Jagr. Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet passed along some great comments from the veteran, who continues to play at an extremely high level:
The Czech Republic was finally able to gain control about midway through the second period when Jakub Voracek scored to give it a 3-2 edge. Marek Zidlicky added another tally late in the period for the Czechs, and Latvia wasn't able to mount another comeback.
In Friday's second game, Switzerland went deep into the third period scoreless for the second straight contest. Unfortunately for the Swiss, the result wasn't the same this time around, as one of the tournament's top contenders, Sweden, scored the late goal to get the win.
The victory came after the Swedes learned Henrik Zetterberg would miss the rest of the Games due to a herniated disk injury. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail doesn't think the team can be counted out despite the losses of key players, though:
Daniel Alfredsson played the role of hero for Sweden on Day 7. Like Jagr, he's moved past 40 on the age dial but continues to produce. He netted the game's only goal with under eight minutes left in the third period to keep Sweden atop the group.
Finland also stayed atop its group with a 6-1 romp over Norway. Teemu Selanne and Lauri Korpikoski scored just over a minute apart less than seven minutes into the game, and the Finnish squad never looked back.
Even though Canada, Russia, Sweden and the United States are generating most of the headlines so far, don't sleep on Finland. The team features a nice combination of experience and young talent and should also get good goaltending with three NFL netminders on the roster.
In the other Group B game, Canada looked far more like the reigning gold-medal champions in a 6-0 win over Austria than it did in a sluggish opener against Norway. Jeff Carter led the offensive charge for the Canadians with a natural hat trick.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports pointed out Carter played less than three minutes in the opening period before exploding for three goals in the second:
It's that type of offensive depth that's going to make Canada very difficult to beat in the knockout rounds.
Looking ahead to Day 8, Group C will wrap up play with Sweden trying to remain perfect against Latvia and the Czech Republic battling Switzerland for second place in the group.
Group B is also in action for the second time. The day's marquee matchup will be the host nation of Russia taking on a United States squad that looked outstanding in its opener. Slovakia and Slovenia play in the other game.
Current Medal Count