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Olympic Hockey round-up

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 7

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 16: Kirill Kaprizov #77 of Olympic Athlete from Russia celebrates after scoring a hat trick against Slovenia in the third period during the Men’s Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game at Gangneung Hockey Centre on February 16, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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After Day One of the men’s hockey tournament, questions began to surround the Athletes from Russia. The team, destined for gold, lost a humbling 2-3 defeat to the hands of Slovakia.

And the same questions filtered into the U.S. team’s locker room. Sure, this group isn’t as strong as the Russians, but the decorated program doesn’t lose to teams like Slovenia. They did, though, as they failed to protect a 2-0 lead that they brought into the third period. The feet were lazily put off the gas, and the Slovenians stole the game 3-2.

Both of these teams responded, though. The U.S. held their 2-1 advantage over Slovakia, and the Russians thrashed Slovenia 8-2.

Scroll below for full results from the second stage of group play, and click here for recaps and highlights from each game.

USA def. SVK 2-1

The Americans learned their lesson from the other day. Instead of sitting back this time around, they continued to apply pressure against the Slovakians and their defense, which was completely out of sorts a couple of days ago, held firm to withstand the Slovakian attack towards the end of the game. It’s that kind of discipline that gives the U.S. a puncher’s chance of defeating the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the next game.

OAR def. SLO 8-2

What a performance from the Russians, and particularly Ilya Kovalchuk and Kirill Kaprizov. Both of these two players netted hat tricks in a dominant performance that reminded the rest of the competition how good the Athletes from Russia are, and why they’re a shoo-in for the gold.

It was an important game for the Russians, not least part because they picked up some desperate points. It brought a ton of confidence back to their forwards who’ll be firing on all cylinders when they take on the Americans next.

SWE def. GER 1-0

An early goal by Viktor Stalberg proved to be enough to see off a resilient German squad.

Sweden next play medal contenders Finland, who have also started the competition perfect. Germany falls to 0-2 in group play.

FIN def. NOR 5-1

Finland avoided a scare early Friday morning when they found themselves 0-1 down. Their young star, Eeli Tolvanen, scored both goes for Finland, including the go-ahead goal after he beat the Norwegian keeper in a one-on-one midway through the second period.

Norway fall to 0-2 in group play.