After an exciting week of preliminary games, the medal round schedule for the Men’s Olympic hockey tournament has been set. According to the rules, the top four teams will all receive a bye into the quarterfinals, with the remaining eight teams playing in the qualification elimination games. The final standings after the preliminary round are as follows:
7. Czech Republic
Tomorrow, February 18th, the qualification games will take place. At 3am, Anze Kopitar and Slovenia will play Michael Grabner and team Austria. Russia, who struggled in round robin play, will face off against Norway at 7:30am. Switzerland, featuring the Anahiem Duck’s standout goalie Jonas Hiller, will play Latvia at 12pm. Also at 12pm, the Czech Republic will take on Slovakia. All times are Eastern.
Qualification Playoff games Feb. 18:
Slovenia vs. Austria, 3:00am
Russia vs. Norway, 7:30am
Switzerland vs. Latvia, 12:00pm
Czech Republic vs. Slovakia, 12:00 pm
The quarterfinals could potentially feature some great matchups. Slovakia is playing with a chip on their shoulder after being dominated by the US in round robin play. They stuck with Russia until the very end, and could do the same to the US in a rematch. The Czech Republic also has a solid team which has not really lived up to their potential yet.
Canada could also be under some heat against a Swiss team with one of the hottest goaltenders around, Jonas Hiller. He is a game changer and could potentially steal the show.
Russia seems to be a sure thing in beating Norway, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them come out and easily take care of business against Finland on home ice. They have something to prove and could take things up a level during single elimination play.
Below is the full schedule for quarterfinal play at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi:
Quarterfinal games Feb. 19:
Sweden vs. winner Slovenia/Austria, 3:00am
Finland vs. winner Russia/Norway, 7:30am
USA vs. winner Czech Republic/Slovakia, 12pm
Canada vs. winner Switzerland/Latvia, 12pm
With this setup, who do you think has the best shot at earning a gold medal this year? Drop us a note in the comments and let us know what you think!