Today, Team USA Men’s Hockey Team has earned the #2 overall seed in the single elimination tournament at the Sochi Games. This gives them a BYE straight to the quarterfinals meaning only three more wins separate them from Gold.
They defeated Slovenia this morning, 5-1 behind a natural hat trick by Phil Kessel. This gives them eight total points (two regulation wins and one overtime win) which won Group A and places them behind only Sweden in seeding, NBC Olympics.
They are in position to accomplish what they’ve set out for. Thanks in large part to that classic game they played Saturday morning against home team Russia.
That highly contested game against Russia ended up in the American’s favor, 3-2 in a shootout. Forward T.J. Oshie put home the game winner on the team’s eight shootout try and goalie Jonathan Quick came up huge time and again. Oshie came through four times on six chances, CBS Sports.
USA Hockey fans are starting to feel it: the mind-blowing enthusiasm of knowing something special could happen here. Not since the “Miracle on Ice” have the American’s came home with Gold.
For most sports shutting down the season for two weeks would be unacceptable and would never happen. For the National Hockey League (NHL) however, shutting down the sport for two weeks has the world all the more interested as no player declines an invite to represent their country. This is what makes it all the more special: the players care even more than the fans.
While yes Team USA is considered to be among the favorites to have a shot in the tournament, most don’t think they can take home the gold. There are so many teams in the mix such as: Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, and of course Canada.
We all remember the 2010 Gold-Medal game in Vancouver where Team USA and the Team Canada treated us to a hockey game for the ages. It was an over-time classic in which Canadian Sidney Crosby buried the game winner to win the Gold, and Team USA came home with the Silver. Should they meet again this time around it will be in the Semi-Finals.
Get ready USA hockey fans: that intensity you remember from the Vancouver games is right around the corner. Next up in the single elimination tournament will be the winner of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.