The game was a very fun and exciting game to watch from the standpoint of a fan. It was scoreless until the last second of the second period... well, we thought the tie was broken. Unfortunately for the Americans, time had expired before the puck crossed the line, so the goal was disallowed.
A few people's nerves were worked up after that incident, and were worried that Team USA wouldn't be able to penetrate the Swiss wall that was Jonas Hiller and might lose.
The third period had another instance where the puck went into the net. This time... it was the same result. USA goal was disallowed, except this time, it was because Ryan Kessler interfered with Hiller. This came right after Switzerland also had a disqualified goal because the puck went off the inside of the post, and never crossed the line.
Team USA disproved all critics though, as Zach Parise of the NJ Devils finally scored about 2 minutes into the third period.
For the rest of the game, however, the game went back and forth between possessions. Both teams had quality shots on net at this point, and there were so many power plays. With USA only up by one goal, it was a very nerve-wrecking experience for fans of either side. Anybody could still win this.
Then with about a minute left in the game, Switzerland pulled Hiller and went on attack in the American's zone. USA did a good job of clearing the puck out though, and eventually, Parise grabbed the puck in Swiss territory, and scored the empty next goal with 11 seconds remaining.
From a hockey mind, this game was AWFUL! Exciting still? Yes. But the American power play was atrocious. Not just because they didn't score, but they had such a difficult time setting up their power play. USA struggled with lost pucks into neutral zone, and offensive zone turnovers. The Swiss had a handful of short-handed opportunities, and that's too many for one game.
If the Americans want to prepare themselves for the winner of the Czech/Finnish game and potentially a rejuvenated Team Canada for the gold medal, they are going to have to minimize their mistakes. If the Swiss were that close to scoring on short handed opportunities, imagine a team like Canada getting the same chances.
Thankfully, Ryan Miller has been fantastic throughout the Olympics; whether he was under intense pressure (against Canada - 42 saves) or if he was not challenged (against Switzerland -19 saves). He has been the one source of consistency for the United States, and if all else fails, at least folks can rely on him to keep the score low for USA to make a move.
Team USA can also rely on their faceoff crew, who saved the team in a lot of situations where the Swiss would be in their zone.
We'll be waiting now for the Finnish team to beat the Czechs so that they can play on Friday for the semifinals. I'm ready to watch so let's go!
In other USA news, the USA women's team will play Canada tomorrow at 3:30pm for the gold medal. That wasn't really news, as we all knew the two teams would meet. But we'll see who actually wins the medal. You know how I'll pick... USA!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'd have to say that I am utterly disappointed in the Russia/Canada game. Russia LOST the game 7-4. It was an awful, atrocious showing - or lack thereof - against Canada, who was ready to play. A team who was ready to play facing off against a team that felt like sleeping in a quarterfinal game makes for... a boring ass game like the one we just saw.
Oh well, a tout a leur to Russia. T'was fun we're moving on with Finland/Czech Republic and Sweden/Slovakia. I predict an EXTREMELY exciting finish to this tournament. GO USA!
A little shoutout also to Finnish player Lasse Kukkonen and Team Canada's Shea Weber. Word has it they checked out this page and liked it. Whether they read it again is another issue, but hey! They read it once! Ha!
http://baltimore.sportsthenandnow.com/2010/02/alex-ovechkin-russia%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cpinch-hitter%E2%80%9D/ Peep this by the way... this is my first post on Sports Then and Now about the Ovechkin hit against Jagr in Sunday's Czech/Russian game.