USA, Canada Hit Olympic Semifinals
Both the United States and Canada have reached the semifinals of this year’s Olympic men’s hockey tournament in Vancouver. But they won’t play each other.
At least not yet.
After dispatching Switzerland by a 2-0 score in the quarterfinals, the Americans will get Finland in their semifinal contest on Friday. And while Ryan Miller held the Swiss off the scoreboard, Finnish keeper Miikka Kiprusoff did the same to the Czech Republic on Wednesday in a 2-0 victory.
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Undefeated so far in the tournament, the Americans are the +102 favorites for Friday’s game at Bovada. The Finns check in at +210.
Puck drop for the USA/Finland matchup is set for 12:00pm PT. Then, at 6:30pm PT on Friday it’ll be the other semifinal game, Canada vs. Slovakia.
After starting the tournament slowly (and getting tagged with a loss by the USA), the Canadians have come alive. Canada pounded Germany 8-2 in their qualification game Tuesday, then got past rival Russia 7-3 in a quarterfinal romp.
Roberto Luongo stopped 25 of 28 Russian shots on Wednesday, but it was Canada’s offense that was the difference in the contest. Corey Perry scored twice in the victory, while Anaheim Ducks teammate Ryan Getzlaf had a three-point game (one goal, two assists).
Sidney Crosby was held without a point in Canada’s quarterfinal win.
Slovakia dispatched the defending Olympic champs from Sweden in the quarterfinals, winning 4-3 to send the Sedins and company home without a medal. Slovakian netminder Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 of 29 shots in the win on Wednesday night.
Despite that victory, though, the Slovaks are +790 underdogs against the Canadians at Bovada for Friday’s semifinal meeting. Canada is set as the -360 favorite.
The winners of Friday’s semifinal games will go on to the Gold Medal Game, which will be played at 12:15pm PT on Sunday. Friday’s losers will have to settle for a berth in the Bronze Medal Game, which will be played at 7:00pm PT on Saturday.
And even though the United States beat Canada in the preliminary round of the tournament, the Canadians are still the oddsmakers’ pick to win the event – with odds as low as 1/2 to claim gold.