Semi-Finals: Canada vs. Russia
This is it. One of these two teams will be singing â€œIâ€™ve got a golden ticketâ€ in the dressing room. A win means a trip to the gold medal game; a loss is a trip for the bronze. Dustin Tokarski will get the start for Canada, and while some feel Pickard should have gotten the game, itâ€™s hard to argue the way Tokarski held his own after the penalty-stacked opening 10 minutes of the Canada/USA game.
Canada has faced Russia in the semi-finals and finals in 7 tournaments in the last 10 years; it is appropriate that this year would be no different. In that time, Russia has won 4 of the 7 matchups, but are winless in their last 3 meets.
Canada has always played the best teams in the tournament to get to the Gold Medal game. Canada looks to get past long time rival, Russia, and meet Sweden in the finals after their win against the Slovaks in a roller coaster of a game. After showing the Americans what persistence and team confidence can do, Slovakia gave the Swedes a run for their money, but couldn’t prevent their third period rush. It would make all hockey fans happy to see Canada and Sweden met in the finals – a rematch from the exhibition round in which Canada took the game by a score of 4-2. The Swedes claimed they did not play their best goaltender in the affair. Canada split the game between Pickard and Tokarski; itâ€™s difficult to say which is the better of the two. Pickard has more size, and Tokarski has more agility.
Tonight, it will be the face-off of 2008 7th overall pick Nikita Filatov and Sergei Andronov against, arguably, 2009 first overall selection John Tavares and Vancouver Canucksâ€™ prospect Cody Hodgson. It will be a fast, hard hitting game, and everyone who tunes in will be greeted with excitement and a high dose of entertainment. So crank the volume and turn down the lights; itâ€™s a big game in hockey tonight!
I will be blogging for TheScore.com for tonightâ€™s game. Join me here for full updates on the event. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Micheal A. Aldred