Last night/this morning, all men’s Olympic Hockey teams completed Game 2 within their Group and the last Group game is upon us. Where are we going for Game 3’s and on into the medal round?
For Game 1’s, the Olympimentum file’s measure of best goalie win percentage and average goals scored per man, per game, led us to the file’s TAB order from left to right. Using that order as a prediction of who will win Game 1’s, all winners were correctly chosen (USA, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden and The Czech Republic).
That same file’s rank order led OGA to predict the following Game 2 results:
USA over Norway
Canada over Switzerland
Russia over Slovakia
Sweden over Belarus
The Czech Republic over Latvia
Finland over Germany
It was pointed out the goalies for Switzerland (Hiller) and Latvia (Misalskis) would have to be nearly perfect to pull off an upset for their team, but these two might be possible surprises. Switzerland took Canada to a Shootout before succumbing to Sidney Crosby’s marker and the Czech’s defeated Latvia after a late second period push from Misalskis’ team smacked of Latvian momentum before Patrick Elias’ open net goal completely sealed the deal late in the third.
The surprise was Russia’s shootout loss to the Czechs where a lack of Russian scoring and a Jiroslav Halak that was JUUUUUUSSST better than his Russian counterpart in net provided the Czech Republic win.
After 12 games, Olympimentum and OGA are 11-1.
Looking at Game 3’s is best done by Group as the results of these games will set the matchups for the playoff rounds:
Norway @ Switzerland (3pm EST Saturday) – Switzerland wins, based in large measure on the play of Jonas Hiller in net and Wick, Ruthemann, Streit, Sbisa, and von Gunten.
Canada @ USA (6:30pm EST Sunday) – Our analysis will be covered on the 5:30pm EST Sunday, 21.02.10 JabberHockey show brought to you on the Internet via Blog Talk Radio.
For Group A, look to our prediction on the JabberHockey show receiving the Qualification BYE, and our predicted match loser most likely joining Switzerland and Norway in the Qualification round.
Latvia @ Slovakia (7:30pm EST Saturday) – Slovakia will take this one unless Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis shuts them out.
Russia @ Czech Republic (3pm EST Sunday) – The first barn-burner of ‘Super Sunday,’ this will be a great match. With Jagr, Elias and Plekanec picking up steam and a defensive corps with seven combined points and a +7, the Russians could suffer another defeat. The Russian forward corps is a better group as a whole, however, their defense just about even with the Czech’s and goaltending certainly capable of shutting down an opponent. Give the nod to the Russians in a close one based on a desire to absolve themselves of their SO loss to the Slovaks.
For Group B, look for the Russians to earn the BYE and the Czechs, Slovaks and Latvians to play in the Qualification round.
Germany @ Belarus (12am EST Sunday) – Belarus will win this game, but look for Felski, Hecht and/or Muller to finally light the lamp for the German team.
Sweden @ Finland (12am EST Monday) – Finland. They are hot at the forward position, great in goal, have the confidence and love the rivalry with the Swedes too much to roll over in this game.
For Group C, Finland has the BYE. Belarus, Germany and Finland are in the Qualification Round.
Wait a Minute…
“Hold on now!” you exclaim. There ARE four teams with a Qualification Round BYE. So who will this be?
The likely loser in RUS v CZE, CAN v USA and SWE v FIN on Sunday are potential BYE candidates. Based on current goal differentials, for all intents and purposes, it comes down to a six-point-getting RUS v CZE or CAN v USA-loser. By our best estimate, the USA/CAN loser is the fourth team to earn a BYE.
We cannot say that without saying Group B’s Qualification Round teams are going to be the scariest to play next to Sweden.
So for Game 3’s, OGA lays it on the line and predicts SUI, SVK, RUS, BRS and FIN to win, and begs off telling you the CAN v USA winner until Sunday’s JabberHockey show.
The four teams most likely to earn a BYE are USA, CAN, RUS and FIN.
And don't forget from the OGAlympics or On Goal Analysis Home pages you can follow the men's Olympic scores in real time, updated every 10 seconds with our Livescore function underneath the hot shot picture of the day.
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