Olympic Preliminary Round: Feb. 16
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USA 5, SLO 1 [Recap, Stats]: Team USA jumped out to an early lead on Slovenia and didn’t look back. Phil Kessel posted a natural hat trick, scoring the first three goals of the game for the Americans. Ryan Miller’s shutout bid was squashed late, but the U.S. still earned a 5-1 victory over Slovenia. Justin Faulk was a scratch for the third straight game. Team USA won Group A in preliminary round play, earning them a bye to the quarterfinals where they await the winner of Czech Republic vs. Slovakia in the qualification round.
RUS 1, SVK 0 (SO) [Recap, Stats]: Andrej Sekera and the Slovaks fell 1-0 to the Russian national team in a game that took a shootout to decide a winner. Jan Laco made 36 saves in net for Slovakia, but Russia netted twice in the shootout to claim victory. Sekera played a team-high 26:09 in regulation, this after he skated a team-high 26:30 against Slovenia just yesterday; Zdeno Chara ultimately led the Slovaks in ice time with 27:39, and Sekera ranked second with 27:29. Both of these teams will now have to play in the qualification round to advance to the quarterfinals.
CAN 2, FIN 1 (OT) [Recap, Stats]: On his 31st birthday, Tuomo Ruutu netted a goal for Team Finland, beautifully redirecting an Olli Maatta point shot. He also laid out Canadian captain Sidney Crosby in the corner on his first shift. It was a solid game in what has been a solid tournament for Ruutu, but Team Canada ultimately prevailed in overtime, via Drew Doughty’s second goal of the contest. Both teams have earned byes to the quarterfinals; Canada awaits the winner of Switzerland vs. Latvia, and Finland will play the winner of Russia vs. Norway.
Qualification round play is up next on Tuesday. Russia (Semin) will face Norway, and Slovakia (Sekera) will face the Czech Republic. Team USA (Faulk) and Finland (Ruutu) will be in action on Wednesday in the quarterfinals. As has been the case in the preliminary round, we’ll have quick recaps of Canes-centric games moving forward into the elimination rounds.
For a full list of Olympic ice hockey schedule and results, including individual player statistics, please click here.