Two recaps in one as Hockey finally started their competition portion of the Olympics Tuesday. The first game played that we care about was the U.S. against Switzerland in a game that turned out to be a very good start for the U.S. team.
Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres made 14 saves as the lone goal for the Swiss was scored by Roman Wick (who?) off a lucky bounce. But at that time it was already too late as the U.S. won 3-1. David Backes of the St. Louis Blues scored what turned out to be the game winner and was sandwhiched between goals by Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks and Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was a bit of a tense first period as the U.S. was surely a bit nervous and possibly exhausted as many players had played over this past weekend and traveled Sunday to Vancouver. Coach Ron Wilson was pleased with the teams ultimate performance and feels that they will get better as time goes along.
The U.S. is off on Wednesday and will prepare for their next matchup Thursday against Norway.
Canada’s game late in the evening against Norway started out as a defensive battle between these two teams as Norway attempted to use a trap style defense, clogging up the middle of the ice, giving Canada very little room to manuever, and really limited the scoring chances. The first period ended in a 0-0 tie, and many I’m sure were concerned.
All for naught as the second period showed Canada’s talents. Starting with a power play goal by the Captain of the Canadian squad, Jarome Iginla, the hometown boys poured it on from there and left any doubt behind as Iginla scored three times on the way to an 8-0 victory. Norway is ranked 11th in the world and after the first period was never really in the game, as the talented Canadian group virtually scored at will.
Line combinations usually take a half a game or so to figure out, but one thing for certain is that once Iginla was put on a line with Cindy Crosby, they looked like a perfect match. The line of Heatley, Thornton and Marleau will probably remain intact and Heatley scored the second goal of the game for Canada, followed by a goal from Mike Richards of the Flyers. Pretty solid unit when you have a fourth line consisting of Mike Richards, Brendan Morrow of Dallas, and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks.
The players became more comfortable with each other as the game wore on and spent a lot of time before faceoffs discussing strategies and trying to devleop chemistry.
Based on the score, I think they found some.
Next up for Canada is Switzwerland on Thursday night. Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils gets the nod for this one as Roberto Luongo started game one for Canada. Not tested at all, it was a pretty easy game for Luongo as I don’t think he even broke a sweat.
Thanks for reading.