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Olympic Roundup: Heartbreak for Russia, USA Dispatches Czech Republic, Glass Slipper Breaks for Cinderella Latvia

February 19th, 2014 at 3:41 PM
By Frank Vajcner

In the quarterfinal round of Olympic Hockey, Sochi became Heartbreak City for four teams.

The biggest heartbreak was for Russia, who after taking a 1-0 lead early against Finland, gave up three unanswered goals to fall 3-1.

Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk assisted on Ilya Kovalchuk's goal in the first, but the Finns stormed back to take the lead for good on Teemu Selanne's goal at 17:38 of the period.

Mikael Granlund added a power play goal at 5:37 of the second which resulted in Russian netminder Semyon Varlamov getting the hook. The Russians also had no answer for Finnish netminder Tuukka Rask, who stopped 37 of 38 shots.

Russia had dominated Olympic hockey since 1956, but the nation has not won Gold since the 1992 Games in Albertville, France. They will also go without a medal for their third consecutive Olympics.

"Inside, I'm absolutely empty,'' Datsyuk said after the game.

Russia wasn't the only nation to bow out after a tough loss. Olympic-darling Latvia gave reigning gold medal winner Canada all they could handle before falling 2-1.

The Latvians had upset Switzerland in the first round and looked poised to do it again, but just didn't have enough left to pull off another shocker.

Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis stole the show in the game, as he stymied the Canadians in an incredible 55 save performance. But the backbreaker for him was a power play goal by Shea Weber with 6:54 remaining which proved to be the game-winner.

Canada, however, will be without John Tavares for the remainder of the Games after he injured his leg in the second period.

In other action, the United States had little trouble with the Czech Republic, as they prevailed 5-2 with a balanced attack. Five different players scored for Team USA, while Jonathan Quick continued to play strong in net by stopping 21 of 23 shots.

Top-seeded Sweden handled upstart Slovenia 5-0. Red Wings' players Daniel Alfredsson and Niklas Kronwall each recorded an assist, while Henrik Lundqvist recorded his second shutout of the Games.

The semifinals will take place on Friday. Sweden and Finland will face off in the first game (7:00 a.m, NBC Sports Network), while the United States and Canada will meet in a hyped rematch of the 2010 Gold Medal game (Noon, CBC). The losers will meet in the Bronze Medal Game on Saturday (10:00 a.m, NBC Sports Network) while the winners will play for gold on Sunday (7:00 a.m, NBC).

Tags: Daniel Alfredsson, Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, NHL, Niklas Kronwall, Pavel Datsyuk

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