Four years ago, the U.S. men’s hockey team came just short of winning the gold medal, losing an overtime game to Canada in the finals. On Friday afternoon, the Americans look to get revenge at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Team USA will take on Canada in the semifinals at noon ET. The contest will be broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network and replayed at 5 p.m. ET. Fans who can’t watch the game on TV can see a free live stream online with NBC Sports Live Extra.
The contest on Friday will be another chapter in what has become an intense rivalry. The winning team will still need one more victory to reach its ultimate goal, but USA vs. Canada has the feel of a gold medal game.
“It’s what it’s all about, Canada-USA. It’s become even a bigger rivalry than Canada-Russia," Canada’s Jonathan Towes said, via Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.
Both teams went undefeated in the preliminary round and quarterfinals. The United States has been, mostly, dominant. Other than their shootout victory over Russia, the Americans have outscored their opponents 17-4. It hasn’t been an easy road for Canada, who was almost upset in the quarterfinals. They beat Latvia, who was a heavy underdog, 2-1. Shea Weber scored a power-play goal with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period to put the defending gold medalists ahead.
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Prior to the start of the 2014 Games, Canada was the favorite to win the tournament. After an impressive showing in four contests, Team USA is being considered on the same level. Friday’s matchup is a tossup, according to the betting line. The moneyline for both teams has been set at -110, with the over/under for total goals scored at 5.5. Canada’s odds to win the gold (8/5) are still slightly better than that of the U.S. (9/5).
The winner will face either Finland or Sweden in the finals on Sunday. Those teams are scheduled to face off five hours before the U.S. and Canada start. The bronze medal game will be played on Saturday morning.
The U.S. men’s hockey team hopes it can avoid the same fate that befell the women’s team just 24 hours earlier. In the finals, Team USA blew a 2-0 lead to Canada with less than three minutes left in regulation. The Canadian women won their fourth straight gold medal with an overtime goal.