Drew Doughty scored both goals for Canada, the second in overtime as Canada edged a stubborn Finland 2-1 Sunday in Sochi. With the win, Canada as third seed is able to bye-pass the qualification round and will play the winner of Switzerland/Latvia in Wednesday’ quarterfinal. Canada missed a chance to clinch the first seed by not winning in regulation.
Carey Price stopped 14 of 15 shots. His best came in the overtime, what he called a “reaction save” with his blocker on Sami Salo who “came out of nowhere” and was all alone in the slot just a minute before Doughty scored the game winner. He had little chance on Finland’s only goal which came on a deflection off a screen shot with two minutes remaining in the second period. It only the third shot of the period for the Finns. P.K. Subban wasn’t dressed. His replacement Dan Hamhuis logged 3:58 and seven shifts including 1:41 and a total of three shifts in the second, third and overtime periods.
Led by Phil Kessel’s natural hattrick USA completed the qualification round with a 5-1 win over Slovenia. Max Pacioretty was a healthy scratch for the game, replaced in the lineup by Rangers left wing Derek Stepan. Ryan Miller made the start in goal for the U.S. The Americans win Group “A”.
Sweden had locked up Group “C” on Saturday with their 5-3 win over Latvia.
Russia had a big letdown after Saturday’s epic shootout loss against the US, finally beating Slovakia 1-0 in a shootout. Ilya Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov scored the shootout goals while Semyon Varlamov stopped both Slovak attempts to nail down the victory. Andrei Markov had a big night offensively, tieing with Alexander Ovechkin with a team leading six shots on goal. On the other hand Alexei Emelin found himself in the coach’s doghouse after taking two early penalties. He played only 1:37 in the third period and a total of 12:50 in the game. Peter Budaj was not in uniform for Slovakia, who started Jan Laco.
Heading into the knockout stage of the Olympic tournament Sweden is seeded first followed by the US and Canada. Finland, with the best second place record also avoids the qualification round. Sweden will play either Slovenia or Austria in the quarterfinal on Wednesday. It’s either Switzerland or Latvia for Canada and Russia will play Norway for the right to play Finland in the quarterfinal.
Matchups for the Quarterfinals Wednesday
Sweden vs. winner Slovenia-Austria
USA vs. winner Czech Republic-Slovakia
Canada vs. winner Switzerland-Latvia
Finland vs. winner Russia-Norway
Game times will be established at a IIHF Directorate Meeting Monday. Chances of an All-North American gold medal game are slim because Canada and the US are seeded second and third. They would be destined to meet in the semi-final if they win their quarterfinal games.
Overall Ranking Preliminary Round:
7. Czech Republic