The action is starting to pick up in both the men's and women's hockey tournaments at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
There are only four teams remaining on the women's side of the bracket, as the teams wrapped up the quarterfinals on Saturday. Three of these squads will leave with a medal, but only one of them can get gold.
On the men's side, the teams are finishing up the preliminary rounds in an effort to decide seeding for the knockout stage. Everyone is looking to win their group to clinch a bye to the quarterfinals.
There was a lot of exciting action on Day 8, so here is a look at scores and highlights from the day as well as the current standings and draws for each tournament.
|Men's Group A||Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1|
|Men's Group A||USA 3, Russia 2 (Shootout)|
|Men's Group C||Sweden 5, Latvia 3|
|Men's Group C||Switzerland 1, Czech Republic 0|
|Women's Quarterfinals||Sweden 4, Finland 2|
|Women's Quarterfinals||Switzerland 2, Russia 0|
|Consolation||Finland vs. Germany||Feb. 16||3 a.m.|
|Consolation||Russia vs. Japan||Feb. 16||12 p.m.|
|Semfinals||United States vs. Sweden||Feb. 17||7:30 a.m.|
|Semifinals||Canada vs. Switzerland||Feb. 17||12 p.m.|
United States Outlasts Russia in Shootout
Watching these two teams play, you never would have guessed this was just a preliminary-round game. That is because both the United States and Russia played like there was no tomorrow in an intense battle that went through overtime and an extended shootout.
After falling behind 1-0 thanks to a Pavel Datsyuk goal, the United States came back and took the lead with scores by Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski. However, Datsyuk then scored his second goal of the game to equalize the score in the third period.
It seemed like Russia had a potential game-winning goal in the final minutes, but the third score was disallowed after replays showed the net was dislodged:
When neither side was able to break through in overtime, it went to a shootout, which is supposed to last only three rounds. However, it ended up going eight rounds, tying an Olympic record, according to Andrew Siciliano of NBC Olympics:
USA/Russia tie Olympic record for longest shootout. Japan beat Austria in 8 rounds in Nagano in '98.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) February 15, 2014
T.J. Oshie then became the hero, scoring four times in six attempts in the shootout, including the game-winner. After the game, he joked about his extended role:
T.J. Oshie: "I was glad it ended when it did. I was running out of moves."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) February 15, 2014
Still, he was able to help Team USA come away with an impressive victory to give the squad the upper hand in Group A. Based on how these teams played, though, it would almost be surprising if they did not meet again in the knockout stage.
Russia Knocked Out of Women's Tournament
Through the preliminary rounds, it seemed like Russia would have no problem earning a medal in the women's bracket. The team won all three of its games, outscoring opponents 9-3 in the process.
Unfortunately, Russia could not get anything past Swiss goalie Florence Schelling. Owen Bradley of BBC Radio discusses the performance of the 24-year-old star:
Russia's women are out, losing 2-0 to Switzerland. Florence Schelling outstanding for the Swiss, posting a 41-shot shutout. #sochi2014— Owen Bradley (@OwenBradley) February 15, 2014
Switzerland was able to get a goal from Stefanie Marty in the first period, which was basically enough to hold onto the victory. The Swiss then added a second goal on an open net with less than one minute to play.
This knocks the hosts out of the running for a medal despite the good start to the tournament. As Bleacher Report's Dan Levy notes, it has been a tough day for Russian hockey:
While the US was beating Russia, the Russian women were losing 2-0 to Switzerland in the QFs. Worst hockey day in some time, eh, Russia?— Dan Levy (@DanLevyThinks) February 15, 2014
Meanwhile, Switzerland will advance to the semifinals to face Canada. The Swiss are hoping to have a better showing than the 5-0 loss earlier in the week.
Sweden Clinches Group C
The first team to clinch a bye into the quarterfinals of the men's tournament was Sweden, which earned the spot after winning Group C with three wins in a row. The European squad outscored opponents 10-5 in the wins, but it had some trouble with Latvia on Saturday.
Latvia got out to a 2-1 lead early in the second period, creating plenty of nervous fans in Sweden. While the favorites regained the lead, it remained close until Alexander Edler scored to make it 5-3, which ended up being the final.
Despite the win, the close score against an inferior opponent has many doubting the team's ability to go the distance in this tournament. Ed Frankovic of WNST does not think it is a gold-medal contender:
Sweden's play in this game confirming my belief that Gold medal is a 3 horse race between Canada, Russia, & USA #Sochi2014— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) February 15, 2014
However, the results speak for themselves, and the talent is there for Sweden to make a serious run for a title. With what is certain to be a favorable draw in the quarterfinals, this squad can go far.
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