As we enter the final week of the 2022 Winter Olympics lets take a look at how the Minnesota Gophers athletes are fairing in Beijing. Spoiler—-pretty, pretty good.
Eight current and former members of the Gopher women’s hockey team are on the US Olympic team. The US is doing what they need to do, albeit in a less impressive fashion than the Canadian squad, but the inevitable USA/Canada gold medal game match-up is a go.
The US went 3-1 in pool play winning 5-2 over Finland, 8-0 over Switzerland, 5-0 over Russia and then dropping their game against Canada 4-2. The US got the #2 seed in the elimination round and struggled but defeated Czechia 4-1 in the quarterfinals before dispatching Finland 4-1 in the semifinals Monday morning.
This all sets up the anticipated USA/Canada rematch for the Gold Medal in a game that will face off at 10:10 Central time on Wednesday night.
Amanda Kessel leads all former Gophers with 7 points in the tournament with two goals and five assists. Kelly Pannek has 6 points with two goals and four assists, Hannah Brandt has five points all coming on assists, Dani Cameranesi has three points with a goal and two assists, Megan Bozak has three assists for three points, Lee Stecklein and Grace Zumwinkle each have a goal, and Abbey Murphy has an assist for one point.
Future Gopher Nelli Laitinen has a goal and five assists for her Finland squad as they will play for the Bronze Medal against Switzerland Wednesday morning.
Future Gopher Josefin Bouveng ended her Olympics with one goal as Sweden was eliminated after an 11-0 loss to Canada in the quarterfinals.
The US Men’s hockey team has been a pleasant surprise in Beijing. The US went 3-0 in pool play and earned the #1 seed in the tournament portion of the competition. The US opened play with a 8-0 win over China, defeated Canada 4-2, and then knocked off Germany 3-2. The US received a bye into the quarterfinals and will face the winner of Germany and Slovakia at 10:10 Tuesday night. If they advance they would face either Russia, Denmark or Latvia in the semi-finals Thursday night or Friday morning.
The quartet of current/former Gophers have been outstanding for the US so far. Ben Myers leads the way with four points split between a pair of goals and assists. He is second on the US squad in scoring. Mathew Knies has two points, with one goal and one assist, and defensemen Brock Faber and Aaron Ness each have one assist for the US squad.
The US Women’s curing team led skipped by Gopher alum Tabatha Peterson and aided by her sister and fellow U grad Tara is in good position. Through six matches of the nine-match pool play round the US team is tied for second place with a 4-2 record along with Japan and Sweden. The top four teams at the end of pool play will advance to the semifinals.
The road will not be easy as the US will face undefeated Switzerland, second place japan and fifth place Canada in their final three matches and will at absolute minimum will need to win one and most likely two of their final three to make the medal round. The US/Switzerland matchup will be at Midnight Tuesday with the Japan match coming at 7 PM Tuesday.
The match against Canada may be a winner is in affair and will occur at 6 AM Wednesday morning.
Good luck the rest of the way to the Gophers in Beijing! Bring home the Gold!