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2010 Olympic Women’s Hockey: Playoff Bracket

Julie Chu (left) leads the American womens' hockey team to hopefully gold; the team also has two other Harvard alums Caitlin Cahow (center) and Angela Ruggiero (right). (gocrimson.com, Harvard University)

With only eight teams, the women’s bracket has been shaped without much time going by. The U.S. And Canada are leading the way, and as the only remaining unbeaten teams have to be the favorites to slug it out in the gold medal game, with the bronze medal game looking like an all-Scandinavian battle between Sweden and Finland. The women also have classification games to complete the rankings and decide who is the Detroit Lions of women’s hockey. A quadruple header is set for Monday, leading off with the U.S. facing Sweden, in a battle of beauties vs blondes. So without further ado, check out how the tournament will shake up below:

7th/8th Place Game: China vs Slovakia

This game determines the bottom of the barrel, who will return to their country shamed and win-less. Knowing how China behaves with dissidents, it had better be Slovakia for the Chinese girls’ sakes. And even though the Chinese have scored one less goal throughout the tournament, they’ve given up 13 less. Even considering their blowout against Canada, the Slovakians have given up too many goals for comfort against Sweden and Switzerland. China only gave up two goals each against Finland and Russia, following their thrashing against the Americans. Expect to see China win with an insurance goal or two to spare.

5th/6th Place Game: Switzerland vs Russia

Switzerland has given up less and scored more, but Russia won a close game against China 2-1, so they know how to pull off nail biters. Still, that game consumed two of their three goals. Switzerland scored five against Slovakia. In their original classification games, Russia did score four to beat Slovakia, but Switzerland blanked China 6-0.

Switzerland has a clear edge in this game, if only by a little, but that should be enough for the Swiss misses to be the champions of the bottom four.

Semifinal: U.S. vs Sweden

Sweden gave up a whopping 15 goals in three games, though to be fair, 13 of those were to Canada. But again in all fairness, will the U.S. be any less merciful? The U.S. has victories of 12-1, 13-0, and 6-0, making their offense rather potent and difficult to defend against. Sweden will have to try while lighting it up with their own offense to supplement the score, but they in all likelihood will not be able to do it enough, giving the Americans a pass to the gold medal game.

Semifinal: Canada vs Finland

Finland wasn’t looking that bad, winning 5-1 against Russia and 2-1 against China before being put in their place by the U.S. Canada, on the other hand, won their games 18-0, 10-1, and 13-1. The Finnish defense is better than Sweden, but their offense is worse, giving them the same problem as the Swedes. Unless Tuukka Rask cross-dresses and plays in goal for Finland, the Canadians will march their way straight into the finals.

Finals Preview?: Canada vs U.S.

The Americans have only given up one goal all tournament while scoring 31. The Canadians have given up two, but scored 41, including double digits in all three of their games. Remember the whole thing about Finland and Sweden not having enough offense? That’s not a problem with either of these teams, but Canada has had more. The American offense even slowed against Finland. With the teams’ defenses about even, that could be a death blow, and will probably relegate the Americans to Silver, while the consolation prize to men’s hockey for Canada will be a gold for their women.

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