The qualification round of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics for men’s hockey has come and gone. Now, the United States knows what it will be up against in the quarterfinals.
On Wednesday, Team USA is scheduled to take on the Czech Republic. It’s the first time the U.S. will take the ice since Sunday, when they won their third preliminary round matchup. The Czech Republic defeated Slovakia on Tuesday, 5-3.
The U.S. men’s hockey team was perfect in the prelims, going undefeated in three tries. By going undefeated in Group A, the squad earned itself a bye into the quarterfinals, defeating Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia along the way. Sweden, Canada and Finland also were able to surpass the qualification round because of their play in the prelims.
Team USA won’t have an easy road to the gold medal round. According to Bovada.lv, Czech Republic has the second-best odds to win the gold medal of any team that had to qualify for the quarterfinals. If the U.S. does advance to the semifinals, they will likely meet Canada, who’s favored to win the tournament. Canada plays Latvia in its contest on Wednesday. Russia, who the Americans defeated in overtime last week, can only get their revenge on the U.S. if the two sides meet in the finals.
Thus far, Phil Kessel has put up the best numbers for the U.S. He leads the team with four goals and three assists. T.J. Oshie, though, has been the star, helping Team USA defeat Russia on Saturday. He scored on four out of six attempts in the shootout.
Jonathan Quick has been in goal for the majority of the time, stopping 94.4 percent of shots that have come his way. Ryan Miller has spent almost half as many minutes on the ice, registering the exact same save percentage.
All four quarterfinal games are scheduled for Wednesday. The semifinals are set for Friday, followed by the bronze medal game on Saturday and the gold medal round on Sunday morning.