Photo credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip
They went through their preliminary schedule undefeated and while their bout with Russia had an exciting finish, it is now time for Team USA's real quest to begin. Having lost the gold-medal game in heartbreaking fashion in Vancouver four years ago, USA Hockey has been waiting for this. They may not be in the gold-medal game but a win in their quarter-final matchup will bring them one step closer to turning silver into gold.
But the Czech Republic are standing in their way.
After sitting out his team's preliminary finale against Slovenia, the well-rested (and now-controversial) goaltender Jonathan Quick is back between the pipes for Team USA as the up-and-down Czechs look to book a spot in the semi-final.
Unlike the Americans, the Czechs needed to play a qualifier to advance to the quarter-final. On Tuesday, they jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Slovakia before surrendering three unanswered goals. Thankfully for the Czech, Tomas Plekanec was able to ice the game with an empty-netter.
While the Czechs certainly hope for the same type on start on Wednesday, they know they will have to be much more defensively sound against an American side who has scored 15 goals during the preliminary round. Needless to say, the Czech Republic will need everything in order for Wednesday.
In addition to fans of Team USA, fans of the Los Angeles Kings will be rooting on their netminder as they know exactly the type of impact Jonathan Quick is capable of having. In the same breath, Kings hope for a little more production out of Dustin Brown. Of course, if that doesn't happen, a US win will gladly suffice.
This should be one heck of a matchup.
Enjoy the game!