Wednesday, February 17, 2010

American, Canadian hockey teams playing well early

Host Canada and neighbor America have established early on why they are contenders for Olympic gold medals at the Vancouver games. Here is a quick recap of what has happened so far.

On the women’s side, Canada set the tone immediately, whipping Slovakia 18-0 and setting an Olympic record for goals scored. Meghan Agosta and Jayna Hefford scored hat tricks for the Canadian team during the Feb. 13.

The next day, the American women did not rack up 18 goals, but they did tie a team-record 12 goals, as they dismantled China 12-1. Jenny Potter led the way with three goals of the U.S.

Canada got another lopsided win over Switzerland, 10-1, Monday. America won its second game Tuesday 13-0, over Russia, setting a new team-record for goals scored in an Olympic game. The U.S. punished Russia for its mistakes, scoring goals on 7-of-8 power plays and the Americans scored two shorthanded goals also. Potter became the first player to score hat tricks in consecutive Olympic hockey games as well.

Canada is in Group A and America is in Group B, setting the stage for an exciting match up once preliminary round play is completed.

In all the excitement the American and Canadian women’s hockey teams have supplied, it should be noted Pernilla Winberg of Sweden became the first women’s player to record a four-goal game in Olympic history when her team faced Slovakia.

As for the men, competition got underway Tuesday with both the U.S. and Canada winning its first games.

Though the countries’ women’s hockey teams will not meet until the next round, America and Canada are both in Group A on the men’s side.

America won its opening matchup against Switzerland, 3-1. Bobby Ryan, David Backes and Ryan Malone (power play) netted goals for America.

Canada had an easier time with Norway, winning 8-0. Jarome Iginla’s power play goal, his first of three goals, got his team on the board and the host team never looked back.

Preliminary rounds of both tournaments continue this week.

The Canadian women will play Sweden (2-0) today at 2:30 p.m. Thursday has a full slate of North American games with the U.S. men playing Norway (0-1) at noon, the American women facing Finland (2-0) at 2:30 p.m. and the Canadian men competing with Switzerland (0-1) at 4:30 p.m.

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