The American men and women have their sights set on ice hockey gold this winter in Sochi, and rightfully so, as both squads are without a doubt capable of finishing atop the podium in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
While the men are still three wins away from securing gold, Team USA's women can lock up their first Olympic gold since 1998 in Thursday's final against archrival Canada.
Below we'll get you set with key viewing info for Team USA's remaining matchups on the ice and medal predictions for both the men and the women.
|Date||Matchup||Start Time||TV (U.S.)||TV (U.K.)|
|Feb. 19||USA vs. Czech Republic (Men's Quarterfinal)||9 p.m. MSK, 12 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. GMT||USA Network||BBC Two|
|Feb. 20||USA vs. Canada (Women's Gold-Medal Game)||9 p.m. MSK, 12 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. GMT||NBC||BBC Two|
|Feb. 21||Men's Semifinals||4 p.m. MSK, 7 a.m. ET, 12 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Feb. 22||Men's Bronze-Medal Game||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Feb. 23||Men's Gold-Medal Game||4 p.m. MSK, 7 a.m. ET, 12 p.m. GMT||NBC||BBC Two|
U.S. Women Will Exact Revenge upon Canada
The U.S. women's team is one victory away from securing gold in Sochi.
Unfortunately, the team standing in their way is taking aim at its fourth straight Olympic gold. Not to mention, Canada came from behind to defeat Team USA 3-2 in the preliminary round on Wednesday.
The key to revenge, though, as captain Meghan Duggan pointed out following the U.S.'s 6-1 thrashing of Sweden in Monday's semifinals, will be to attack from the outset, per USA Today's Kelly Whiteside:
We said the other day after our loss against Canada that we felt bad for the team that has to face us on Monday, because we're going to be a different team.
We shot whenever we could, we forechecked hard and played the body and just got back to the way we play and not sit back on our heels. We just jumped right on them and stayed more disciplined on the ice.
Keep in mind that Team USA's 20 goals through four games are the most of any team in Sochi. The Americans have now outscored their opponents by a combined mark of 20-5. Although the Canadians have proven to be just as explosive, the U.S. clearly has a higher ceiling when they are firing on all cylinders.
Fresh off a near-flawless performance against the Swedes, the U.S. women appear to peaking at the ideal time. They are assured silver at worst, but gold is definitely within reach.
American Men Will Miss the Podium
Team USA worked hard for silver four years ago in Vancouver, but with a slew of dangerous teams still alive in the men's bracket this February, expect the Americans to come up short of the gold yet again, settling for bronze.
With Canada, Russia and Sweden all looking to medal, the U.S. will ultimately lack the firepower necessary to win out.
Although Phil Kessel (four goals and three assists) and T.J. Oshie have been strong through the round-robin, the competition will only stiffen as the tournament progresses, and the U.S.'s draw is hardly a favorable one.
USA hockey looking at worst possible draw. Will need to beat Czech republic and Canada just to get to gold medal game. #packalunch— Jeff Dubay (@JeffDubay) February 18, 2014
While there's no doubt that Team USA's current form is encouraging, over time talent is poised to win out.
Plus, if there's one thing holding the U.S. back this winter it's history, which certainly isn't on their side. The American men haven't won Olympic gold since 1980 and boast just two Olympic medals total since their triumph in Lake Placid 34 years ago.
Meanwhile, Canada and Sweden have combined to win each of the past three Olympic gold-medal games. So while the heart may suggest Team USA, the head tells a different tale.
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