Heading into the 2022 Winter Olympics, the Russian Olympic Committee was considered by many to be the favorite to win the gold medal in men’s ice hockey. After all, the Olympic Athletes of Russia captured the gold at the 2018 Winter Games, and the Russian contingent is loaded with talent again this year.
The ROC is two wins away from the gold medal. And it can ensure that it will at least leave Beijing with the silver by notching a win in Friday’s semifinals, when it will be taking on Sweden.
For the most part, the Russian Olympic Committee has performed as well as expected during the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Russian athletes have won three of their first four games, and they advanced to the final four with a 3-1 win over surprise package Denmark in the quarterfinals.
The ROC’s only loss came during its final game of the preliminary round, when it fell 6-5 in overtime to the Czech Republic in Group B action. That was a rare off day for the Russian defense, which has allowed only one goal across its three victories in Beijing.
This semifinal should be a competitive game considering the Swedes have also lost only one game during the Olympics.
The winner of the matchup between the Russian Olympic Committee and Sweden will advance to face the winner of the other semifinal game between Finland and Slovakia in the gold-medal game. The losers of the semifinals will still have an opportunity to reach the podium, as they will face off in the bronze-medal game.
Canada tried to press, but Lander iced it with Tomkins on the bench for an extra attacker with under two minutes to go.
The goal tied Wallmark with Slovakia’s Juraj Slavkovsky for the tournament lead with five.
Thursday marked the countries’ first meeting at the Olympics since the 2014 gold-medal final in Sochi when Canada beat Sweden 3-0.
Sweden, though, will have to get through the ROC to get that opportunity.
The ROC defeated Denmark for the second time in the Olympics when it won 3-1 in the quarterfinals.
The ROC bounced back after losing its last game of the preliminary round to the Czech Republic 6-5. Despite that loss, the ROC still got the bye and made the most of it with the win.
The two favorites to win the gold (the USA and Canada) have been eliminated and the tournament is now wide open and Sweden and the ROC will look to take advantage of it with a big semifinal win.