The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi are nearing their end, which means that it’s almost time for the gold-medal games in ice hockey.

The U.S. women’s team is performing very well, and is on its way to a gold-medal matchup against its rivals, Canada. These teams have a storied rivalry and have met up in the gold-medal game four of a possible five times, including this time (Women’s ice hockey was only introduced into the Olympic tournament in 1998).

The Americans are seeking revenge on Canada for defeating them in the previous gold-medal game in Vancouver four years ago. The team has a legitimate chance at doing so, as they are playing at the top of their game. They annihilated Sweden 6-1 on Monday, outshooting their opponents by an unheard of 70-9 margin, so there is certainly no lack of skill for the Americans. They just need to be careful not to underestimate their opponents, as they are made up of some of the world’s greatest female hockey players.

The U.S. men’s team has a matchup set against the Czech Republic Wednesday at noon, which I think they will have no issue with. As long as goaltender Jonathan Quick and winger Phil Kessel continue to play the way they have been, the sky is the limit for this team.  Assuming the U.S. team defeats the Czech Republic and heavily favored Canada defeats severe underdog Latvia, the stage is set for a rematch of last year’s gold-medal game, which Canada won in overtime thanks to forward Sidney Crosby’s so-called “golden goal.”

I truly feel that the U.S. team has a good chance to go far in this tournament, and is capable of defeating their daunting Canadian rivals. At the same time, however, I will not be surprised if Canada comes out firing on all cylinders, which would spell trouble for our boys in red, white and blue.

If everything goes as most would predict, the final four teams in the tournament will be the U.S., Canada, Sweden and Russia. If the Americans should happen to defeat Canada in their matchup, the stage would be set for a gold-medal game against either injury-plagued Sweden, or the vaunted offensive firepower of host-nation Russia. Both scenarios call for a great game, and as an American hockey fan, I cannot wait to see how everything plays out.

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