Olympic hockey daily: Canada has the teams to beat

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

A recap of the Pyeongchang men's and women's hockey tournaments, with a focus on Team USA's gold medal quests.

Three Stars

1. Genevieve Lacasse, Canada

This time, it was not Shannon Szabados baffling the U.S. in its showdown with arch rival Canada. It was Lacasse, stopping 44 of 45 shots in as Team Canada defeated the Americans 2-1 in a typically-spirited preliminary battle between the two women's hockey superpowers. Canada now has three goalies that can get the job done in these games, as Szabados had 22 saves in a 4-1 win over Finland and Ann-Renee Desbiens had an 18-save shutout against the Olympic Athletes from Russia. Scary.

2. Linus Omark, Sweden

These Olympics are made for stellar, "remember me?" performances from former NHL players. Omark, who parlayed his YouTube fame as a shootout specialist into a 79-game career with the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres, had three assists in Sweden's convincing 4-0 win over Norway. That included the primary helpers on goals by Dennis Everberg and Mikeal Wikstrand that were scored 1:22 apart in the third period to blow the game open.

3. Wojtek Wolski, Canada

Truth be told, Rene Bourque had a greater offensive impact in Canada's 5-1 win over the Swiss in the tournament opener for both teams. But how can you not give a star to Wolski, the Canadian forward who scored two goals (one at even strength, one into an empty net) 16 months after breaking his neck, having made a miraculous comeback to become an Olympian?

Wojtek Wolski scores in the Olympics 16 months after breaking his neck

- Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) February 15, 2018


Men's Group C: Finland 5, Germany 2; Sweden 4, Norway 0
Women's Group A: Canada 2, USA 1; Finland 5, OAR 1
Men's Group A: Czech Republic 2, Korea 1; Canada 5, Switzerland 1

The women's quarterfinals are now set. Canada faces the winner of OAR and Switzerland, while Team USA plays the winner of Sweden and Finland.

What's up with the U.S. men's team?

Team USA was embarrassed by Slovenia in its tournament opener, losing 3-2 in overtime and getting outplayed for the last 20 minutes by a significant margin. Energy management was the topic of conversation in the postmortem, as it was clear the Americans left it all on the ice at the start and the tank hit "E" by the third period.

"I thought our energy in the third was not great," coach Tony Granato said. "Twenty-four guys playing their first Olympic game -- the hype, the long day -- you use a lot of energy. It could have been a little fatigue set in mentally because of the way that the day was. But no excuses. They were the better team in the third."

Slovakia is next, in a game that starts at 10:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Slovakia pulled off an upset of its own in the first game, stunning tournament favorite OAR 3-2. (A victory that took some of the sting out of the Americans' loss from a group-standings perspective.)

Granato said his players have to forget about Slovenia, ASAP.

What's up with the U.S. women's team?

Yeah, it's been pretty much like this for her:

The scratch heard 'round the world

In the next 24 hours


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