The Men’s Olympic hockey tournament has an interesting format, where a preliminary group round is played simply to order the teams from best to worst.
There were a lot of upsets in the first three games for each team, including the historic win by Slovenia over Slovakia which put them in second place in their group and the USA third.
The Swedes and Finns dominated their weaker opponents and their group winner was decided by their game against each other which Sweden won without too much trouble giving them the overall lead.
Canada struggled, dropping a game to the Czechs in the shootout, and finishing second to the Czechs in the group but crucially, maintained the highest point total for second-place teams.
The Russians, who still look like the best team, dropped their opening game and still finished first in their group by virtue of the parity below them. The USA has set themselves up for a very tough road to the medal round.
Those preliminary games are all completed now and we have our ranking:
- Czech Republic
- Russia (OAR)
The top four teams in that ranking move directly to the quarterfinals on Wednesday, February 21, and they will face the four winners of Tuesday’s qualifying games. Those top four have home-ice advantage for the quarterfinals too, so Canada squeaking in on points is very important for their chances at a medal. Finland, by coming fifth, get to play Korea in the their qualifying game, so that’s the next best thing to a bye, and Canada will be waiting to meet them in the quarterfinals.
The qualifying games schedule and matchups are:
Men’s Olympic Qualification Games
|Feb 20||12:10 PM||Feb 19 10:10 PM||USA||Slovakia||E3|
|Feb 20||4:40 PM||Feb 20 2:40 AM||Slovenia||Norway||E2|
|Feb 20||9:10 PM||Feb 20 7:10 AM||Finland||Korea||E1|
|Feb 20||9:10 PM||Feb 20 7:10 AM||Switzerland||Germany||E4|
Note the code in each row, that’s the designation of the winner, and they will move into the quarterfinals as follows:
Men’s Olympic Quarterfinals
|Feb 21||12:10 PM||Feb 20 10:10 PM||Czechia||E3|
|Feb 21||4:40 PM||Feb 21 2:40 AM||OAR||E2|
|Feb 21||9:10 PM||Feb 21 7:10 AM||Canada||E1|
|Feb 21||9:10 PM||Feb 21 7:10 AM||Sweden||E4|
All times and matchups are from the official IIHF site, and could be subject to change. So far at this Olympics, they haven’t been moving games around to make TV broadcasters happy, so it’s likely accurate.
Once these two days of games are finished, there will be only four teams left in the tournament who move onto the medal rounds on February 23. Once we know who they are, we’ll post a schedule and matchups for you.
All games can be streamed in Canada at Olympics.CBC.CA.