Day 13 is a day for the women.
For fans of hard-hitting, passionate hockey, one of the nastiest rivalries in hockey—men's or women's—will take center stage on Thursday afternoon to conclude the women's bracket.
When Team USA and Team Canada face off for the second time in Sochi, it guarantees to be yet another gritty performance by both teams in an all-out brawl for the gold medal.
While the gold-medal match is clearly the biggest draw of the day, another medal will be decided when Sweden and Switzerland take to the ice earlier in the day for the bronze.
Before the puck drops in either of these intriguing matchups, here's a look at the schedule and a preview of both games.
|2014 Olympics Hockey Schedule (Day 13)|
|Game||Teams||Time (ET)||TV||Live Stream|
|Women's Bronze Medal||Switzerland vs. Sweden||7 a.m.||NBCSN||nbcolympics.com|
|Women's Gold Medal||Canada vs. USA||12 p.m.||NBC||nbcolympics.com|
Switzerland vs. Sweden
This serves as a beautiful opening act for the gold-medal match. But like any opener at a concert, it doesn't quite live up to the headliner.
Despite being slaughtered by Team USA in the semifinals by a final score of 6-1, the Swedes will be ready for the bronze-medal match. Swedish goalie Kim Martin Hasson spoke about their attitudes following the loss, per Greg Hughes of CBC:
"I don't think today's result will have affected our confidence," Hasson said. "We lost to a very good team and there will be time for us to prepare now for the bronze medal match."
As for the other side of the match, Switzerland wasn't supposed to get even this far. After getting routed by both the U.S. and Canada by a total of 14-0 in the two games, the Swiss pulled out a 2-0 win over host Russia before falling to Canada.
Despite the early losses, Switzerland appears to be ready for the moment. But the Swedes have a much better offensive attack averaging over two goals per game and have a defense looking to rebound from a poor performance against the U.S.
Prediction: Sweden 3, Switzerland 1
Canada vs. USA
As if nobody knew that this was coming, both the Canadians and Americans turned the tournament into a two-team competition with no other team in contention for the gold.
Round 1 went to Canada. Team USA is hoping to do everything they can to make sure it gets the knockout in Round 2.
Megan Bozek said the game is a culmination of all the hard work the team has put in thus far, per
"We've worked four years for this one moment," Bozek said. "We're right where we need to be. There's 60 minutes left for us to achieve our dream."
The atmosphere for this game is unlike anything in women's hockey as well. With the men taking the day off, expect to see a raucous crowd ready to explode when the two teams meet.
The first matchup in the preliminary round was so crowded that even hockey superstars were being forced to sit in the aisles, as Julie Stewart-Binks of Fox Sports 1 reported:
As for any thoughts of revenge, team captain Meghan Duggan didn't shy away from the topic and said it's not just about the game the team lost in these Games, per Oklobzija:
But it's always revenge against them. I'm still working on revenge from Vancouver. You come up short in that one; it doesn't feel good any time you lose a game, so we're obviously looking for revenge.
Here are the facts: The Canadians are unbeaten and took the first game on a controversial goal. Team Canada also hasn't lost in a gold medal match since 1998 at the Winter Olympics when Team USA won its only gold.
Despite the fact that the Americans have a stiff test in front of them, the pure goal-scoring ability of the U.S. will help the team finally trump Canada and bring home their first gold in the sport in over a decade.
Prediction: USA 3, Canada 2
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: