Today everyone needs to “get sick” around 3:30 and immediately go to the nearest hockey bar. Today USA plays Russia to go to the Gold Medal Game. If that doesn’t evoke all the screeching eagles, stars and stripes, and fireworks out of you I don’t know what would.

The Canadians were knocked out by the Swiss. Sweden eliminated by the Finns, and here is USA staring down their greatest rivals. What more could you ask for. Beat the Russians and go on to win Gold.

You may not know the names on the back but to quote the greatest American Coach of all time, “the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back.” With that being said when the chips are down here is who you should look towards to change the tide.

#11 Ryan Poehling- The Minnesota native is having a hell of a tournament. The highlight was his third period hat trick against Sweden to tie the game at 4-4 to send it to Overtime.

#8 Sasha Chmelevski – The Michigan man plays the game with his nose to the ice. He is always in the dirty areas tipping pucks and getting the job done. With that said if he is given space he can turn on the charm. So much so How To Hockey has an entire video with him which you can see here. Sasha Chmelevski on How To Hockey

#7 Quinn Hughes – Brother to Jack the FLORIDAMAN looks like the reincarnation of Bobby Orr. He will be the one lugging the puck out of the D-Zone flying down the wing like the great number 4 then delivering a laser targeted pass to the guy on the back door.

#6 Jack Hughes – Jack sat out the last three games of the Round Robin. However this was for the betterment of the player. He is still a little undersized in this tournament, but when he finds room to operate you can see this kid is special. His passing ability is that of Joe Thorton and with Ryan Poehling on his wing those two could carry us to gold.

#26 Mikey Anderson – The Captain for Team USA has delivered at every turn. From breaking up big plays in the defensive zone to scoring two goals. Everytime team USA has started to turn sideways in this tournament Mikey has lead them out of the weeds. He scored the first goal of the Tournament against Slovakia. Then he started the comeback against Sweden late in the third period. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him net a big game winner in the final two games of this tournament.

All and all this game means so much to the team, and it will always mean more to America. For decades Russia has served as the boogie man to the United States. So today get off work, head to the bar and enjoy the latest installment in one of hockey’s greatest rivalries.

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Written by Johnny Violence

The lead NHL/Hockey writer for Thoughts From The Bench.

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