Ice hockey whirlwind looks set to continue
Ice hockey has got off to a thrilling start at the Kwandong and Gangneung Hockey Centres at PyeongChang 2018. Japan, Korea and Switzerland have each achieved milestones in the women’s preliminaries. Upsets ruled the day as the men’s preliminaries got underway on 14 February.
PyeongChang 2018 is an opportunity to get a privileged look at the world’s best young talents in one of the fastest, most non-stop winter sports.
Ice hockey never fails to produce drama and has seen some of the Olympic Winter Games’ most legendary moments over the years. The women’s Unified Korean Team has already made history just by playing at PyeongChang 2018 and demonstrating the unifying power of sport.
The team scored their first ever Olympic goal against Japan on 14 February, thanks to Randi Heeso Griffin. Local fans went home happy knowing they had witnessed history, although Japan eventually won 4-1.
The women’s action from 13 February was no less exciting. Three-time Olympian Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (USA) scored the two fastest goals by a player, either male or female, in Olympic history to help the United States to their second victory at the Games. She beat a record that had stood for 58 years.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever come close to that again, but we’ll see,” Said Lamoureux-Davidson. Opponents have been warned. Powerhouses USA and Canada go into a nail-biting 15 February meeting tied at six points each.
In the first game on 13 February, it took Canada just 35 seconds to break Finland’s famed defence. Noora Raty (FIN) had been sensational in goal during Finland’s earlier game against USA, blocking 39 out of 42 shots, but was taken off guard by Canada’s quick start and Canada added three more goals before the second break. “They came fast,” Raty said. “Hats off to them.”
In the earlier game, goaltender Florence Schelling (SUI) recorded her Olympic-record ninth career victory at the Games in Switzerland’s 2-1 triumph over Sweden. Alina Muller (SUI) scored her tournament-leading sixth goal and sits three goals away from the single-Games record of nine.
Men’s action starts with a bang
As the men’s action got under way on 14 February, Slovenia recorded a nerve-racking 3-2 victory over the United States. Jan Mursak (SLO) scored 38 seconds into the overtime period to seal the win. “That is probably the biggest goal of my career,” said Mursak.
The match between Slovakia and team Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) was also very close. Peter Ceresnak’s third-period goal just lifted Slovakia past OAR 3-2.
The men’s preliminaries continue until 18 February, with some mouth-watering clashes in store. Both the men’s and women’s competitions reach the sharp end next week, as PyeongChang 2018 comes to its climax.