Though the quest for their third ever Olympic gold medal technically began last week, the elimination round is where things start to get interesting as the United States enters the quarterfinals with a match-up against Czechia.
How to Watch
Thursday, Feb. 10, 11:10 p.m. EST
- United States (EN): Peacock, NBCOlympics.com, USA Network
- Canada (EN): CBC, CBC app, fuboTV/
Preliminary Round Recap
USA (2nd in Group A, 3-1-0, 20 GF, 6 GA)
The US had a strong finish in Group A despite losing Brianna Decker in the first period of the very first game of the Olympic tournament. Their only loss of the games thus far came at the hands of their rivals: Canada.
Czechia (2nd in Group B, 2-1-1, 10 GF, 8 GA)
The Czechs finished with two wins, an upset loss to Denmark, and a shootout loss to Japan that kept them out of the top qualifying spot in Group B.
Keys to the Game
- Don’t play frustrated. This can be a tall order for many hockey players after a loss like the Americans suffered at the hands of Canada, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important. The US needs to stay calm, cool, and collected and not let their tempers get the best of them against Czechia.
- Play a full sixty minutes. In the aftermath of Team USA’s game against Canada, Abbey Murphy mentioned that the US let up in the second period. No matter who your opponent is, it’s crucial for a team to play a full sixty minutes and give their all for the entire game, rather than getting off to a slow start or easing off the gas halfway through.
- Make the gritty plays. The Czechs have a really reliable starter in Peslarová, and it’s not going to be an easy task to beat her. The line of Cameranesi, Pannek, and Zumwinkle has been excellent proof that every goal counts — no matter how gritty or ugly it is. /
- Score early. The Czechs can rattle the US by scoring quickly and jumping out to an early lead. No team likes conceding the first goal, and the Americans are no different. It’ll be extremely beneficial for Czechia to get on the board first and set the pace of the game. /
- Play your game. Sticking to your guns and refusing to let your opponents into your head is crucial, especially against a historically dominant team like the Americans. To succeed, the Czechs are going to have to work hard to play their own game instead of letting the Americans set the tone.
- Be creative. It’s going to take a lot to beat any of the three American goalies, as they’ve proven by allowing just six goals throughout the preliminary rounds. Czechia is going to have to get creative with their puck possession and draw up some out-of-the-box plays in order to score. /
USA: Alex Carpenter
Carpenter has come up clutch for the Americans in both the best of times and the worst of times. Her four goals throughout the preliminary round lead the US, and she’s only one point back from the team lead in scoring. She’ll need to come up big for her team in the quarterfinals to prevent an upset by Czechia.
Czechia: Klára Peslarová
Goaltender Peslarová will be the key to keeping the US off the board in this one. She’s made more than sixty saves through three games — which doesn’t sound like a lot, but has been critical to preserving the Czechs’ 2-1-1 record. She was ruthless in the shootout, allowing just one goal through five rounds, but wasn’t given much help by her forwards and ultimately went down with the loss.