After a much-needed day off, the women’s hockey tournament resumes tonight with the quarter-final rounds. If you’ve been keeping up you should have some idea of who’s playing whom (hint: Russia plays Switzerland and Finland plays Sweden) but what happens next?
Here’s the details of the schedule as we know it so far. We’ll update it with scores and teams as each Olympic game happens, so keep checking back:
Schedule of Olympic elimination rounds
|Quarter-final 1||Fri Feb 16||10:10 PM EST||USA Network||OAR vs SUI||6-2|
|Quarter-final 2||Sat Feb 17||2:40 AM EST||USA Network||FIN vs SWE||7-2|
|Placement 1||Sat Feb 17||10:10 PM EST||streaming only||SUI vs COR||2-0|
|Placement 2||Sun Feb 18||2:40 AM EST||streaming only||SWE vs JPN||1-2 (OT)|
|Semi-final 1||Sun Feb 18||11:10 PM EST||NBCSN, TSN||USA vs FIN||5-0|
|Semi-final 2||Mon Feb 19||7:10 AM EST||NBCSN, CBC||CAN vs OAR||5-0|
|7th place||Mon Feb 19||10:10 PM EST||streaming only||COR vs SWE||1-6|
|5th place||Tues Feb 20||2:40 AM EST||streaming only||SUI vs JPN||1-0|
|Bronze||Wed Feb 21||2:40 AM EST||USA Network||FIN vs OAR||3-1|
|Gold||Wed Feb 21||11:10 PM EST||NBCSN, Sportsnet||USA vs CAN||3-2 (SO)|
You’ll notice the “TBA” for teams in both semi-finals. It’s not that we don’t know who’ll be playing whom, it’s that we don’t know which semi-final will happen first. Normal IIHF format would have the lower-ranked semi-final happening first, but the IOC’s desire to maximise ratings might switch that up.
The two semi-final games will be the top team in Group A (Canada) versus the winner of the first quarter-final (Switzerland or Russia) and the second team in Group A (USA) versus the winner of the second quarter-final (Finland or Sweden).
The winners of the semi-final games will play each other for Gold, and the losers of the semi-final games will play each other for Bronze.
That’s places one through four dealt with. What about five through eight? That’s where the placement games come in. The loser of the second quarter-final (Finland or Sweden) will play Japan team, and the loser of the first quarter-final (Russia or Switzerland) will play the unified Korean team.
The game to determine seventh place will be played by the losers of the placement games, and the game to determine fifth place will be played by the winners of the placement games. It seems complicated, but there’s a logic to it all.
Who’s going to win? If you have to pick one game to watch, which should it be?
Russia vs Switzerland: [N] I have no idea how this game is going to go. Switzerland has very little defence (apart from Florence Schelling) and Russia hasn’t been able to get their offence going. This could be a mess in the neutral zone while teams try to get the puck to Alina Müller and Olga Sosina respectively.
[A] After the way the Finns demolished Russia’s penalty kill last night, you have to imagine Tournament Leading Scorer Alina Müller (tm) is salivating at the chance to pick apart their defense. On the other hand, Switzerland has the weakest defense Russia’s seen this tournament by a lot, and the Swiss also have a tendency to take a lot of penalties. My best prediction for this game is that it’ll be messy.
Finland vs Sweden: [N] There’s a lot of history between these countries and it comes out on the ice with both national teams. If you think they’ll be any nicer to each other because they’re women, you will be swiftly disabused.
[A] This has the potential to be a fun game. Finland’s the heavy favorite, but Sweden has the potential to be entertaining, and both Noora Räty and Sara Grahn are great goaltenders. If you’re watching one quarterfinal game, make it this one.
In a twist from our usual, Annie will take the “early” recap and Nafio will be your recapper for Finland vs Sweden. The fun starts at 10:10 pm EST!
Edit: An earlier version of this article reversed the opponents in the first placement games. We regret the error.