Tonight is a big night for the B’s prospects, and there’s a non-zero chance that both could end up playing each other for Bronze Medal by the end of the tournament. Funny how that works, huh?
Game One: Canada vs. Russia - 6pm
This one has all sorts of historical baggage attached, but I wouldn’t worry too much if you’re for the Canadians. While Russia has shown that they can shock teams that are like Canada, they also are very, very, very mortal in ways that Canada just...isn’t. They sometimes have lackadaisical defensive efforts, Askarov will sometimes give up a head scratcher, their offense will sometimes take a period to really get going. All of those things are true, but what’s also true is that when Russia’s on their horse, they can play with the best of them, and absolutely outscore them. And they’re going to need every single player to buy in on this before this evening, or their dreams of gold will only be just that: Dreams.
Canada meanwhile just has to ice a team in order to have a good chance of going on. Sometimes life isn’t fair, man.
Game Two: USA vs. Finland - 9:30pm
Unlike the first game, this one has a very good chance of going sideways on one team. The USA is skilled, plays with fire, is utterly and completely relentless on the forecheck, and their goaltender is hot. Normally, you can combine that against a team like the Finns who are offensively gifted but mercurially disciplined and kinda “meh” at defense and expect nothing but a lopsided beatdown that inevitably ends in a score that seems all but insurmountable after the first period.
Sweden thought the same thing. Look how that turned out.
If anything, Finland is in the perfect frame of mind to take advantage of a new, fun thing that the US has begun to do over the past couple of games, and that’s ease up towards the third period after two periods of blasting the opponent to smithereens. Finland fought tooth and claw to get to where they are, and won decisively in the waning seconds of a game they essentially overtook their superior defensive foe by sheer aggression and shooting prowess. For a team like the States, if they get caught flat-footed, there’s a good chance that Leijonat makes them pay dearly for it.
Bruins in the Semifinals:
- F - Matias Mantykivi - Finland
- D - Roman Bychkov - Russia