Saturday, February 17, 2018
Olympic Pool Update (Day 4, Feb 17)
The blend of talent in each of these hockey power teams was going to be fairly even, for the most part, across the board, so when the match-up between Canada and the Czech Republic faced off, there shouldn't have been any talk of mismatch at the start of it. The Canadians got off to a strong start, but the Czechs were right there, step for step in this one and on the 30th anniversary of the Czechs beating Canada in the shootout in Nagano in the semi-finals, history kind of repeated itself with the same fate, a 3-2 shootout victory for the Czechs.
The only player of note is the shootout winner, Jan Kovar for the Czechs. In international hockey, the game-winning goal in the shootout is considered to be a goal and indeed a game-winner on their stat sheet, so in turn, it is on mine. Dale C. collects the 2 points and with the result, lifted up to 6th place with 10 points, now 9 points behind the leader.
The midnight game (in Alberta) was the other game from Pool A, the Koreans taking on the Swiss, and this one wasn't even close. The Swiss were a dominant force in this one and it is really too bad that not many more people took them in the pool, as they came away with an 8-0 victory and all of our mandatory Koreans are turning out to be some dud picks.
No one that was taken in the pool were standouts, as only one pool player got a point, Gaetan Haas for Neil's team and it was only an assist. Jungwoo Jeon was a healthy scratch in this one, which has to be a terrible disappointment for Chris and on another questionable note, Joel Vermin was not listed on the Swiss roster any longer, but there hasn't been any reason as to why. That means our pool leader, Don, is down a man completely. Very disappointing.
The top-billing game of Pool B, between the Russians and the Americans were one of the late games in Korea and one of the early, early games this morning, and this was going to be a game where there would be plenty of points. The game, however, was a little one-sided, as the favourites from Russia were too much for the Americans, taking them down by a 4-0 score
The scoring wasn't exactly spread out either, as Nikolai Prokhorkin scored a pair of goals, including the winner for a 3-point night, Ilya Kovalchuk scored another pair of goals, while Sergei Mozyakin and Sergei Andronov each picked up a pair of assists.
The win for Russia secured their spot in top spot of Group B and they'll be moving on, but things were getting awfully dicey for the Americans, as they needed some help, if they were going to move on in the tournament.
In the hockey pool, the result made the top of the standings very tight, as there was now a 3-way tie for 1st, all with 19 points, as Chris, Neil and Don were there, Chris getting the better of the tie-breakers, which goes as goals and then game-winning goals, the latter being the key one at this point.
The final Group B contest, happened at the same time as the Russia/USA game, but for all intents and purposes on this post, it was just "slightly after." Slovenia and Slovakia each had a chance to make a push for the qualification game for the playoff round with a win and by all accounts this was a close one. A 3-goal 2nd period had the Slovenians up 2-1 heading into the final frame, where the Slovaks were able to tie it up early, but regulation solved nothing. The 3-on-3 overtime solved nothing. So, twice in one night, a game went to the shootout.
It took all five rounds before Slovenian Ziga Jeglic scored to clinch it and lift them over Slovakia, 3-2. This puts them in good shape for the qualification game, at the moment, but I believe we have to see how the other two pools shape up.
In this game, there were only four active pool players, but Jan Mursak of Slovenia, the only Slovenian taken, had a pair of assists, which was great for Steve! The three Slovaks taken in the pool were all shutout.
Steve's 2 points now brings his team within 3 points of the 3-way tie for top spot and tonight is the final night of the round robin, so if you don't have a lot of points, you better hope that tonight is a good one for you.