Friday was a tough one to try and pick three worthy candidates due to defensive struggles in the semi final olympic hockey games—but two goalies made the grade. That should not come as a shock to anyone. In the two games, there were a combined total of four goals among the four teams. The Americans and Canadians combined for nearly 70 shots but only a shot-pass found its mark to an open Jamie Benn for the game winner.
Both games were entertaining chess matches in their own way. Now, we bring you our three stars from the semifinals.
Olympic Fantasy Hockey Three Stars
Gold — Carey Price — Canada
He made all the saves. Price has been solid to elite in this tournament. On Friday, it wasn’t just that he had a shutout but the fact he made 31 saves in a game where there were not that many “Grade A” scoring chances. The bottom line was this fantasy hockey top ten goaltender made every stop he had to. It was also in a pressure situation with the chance to go to the gold medal game against Sweden. Price passed the test with flying colors. If he wins the gold medal, he may just be voted most outstanding player of the tournament. Who thought that two weeks ago? Not many.
Silver — Jonathan Quick — USA
You felt for Quick from a fantasy hockey standpoint, a country standpoint, and a team level standpoint as he really did not make a single mistake. Quick made 36 saves and quite a number of amazing saves but still lost 1-0. Team USA was just porous in front of him for too many long stretches and the Benn goal was off a brilliant slap-pass from Jay Bouwmeester where Quick could not see the pass because of a perfectly timed screen. Benn beat two US players to the puck and the puck was in the net. Canada had double-digit scoring chances in the first period and rather close in the second. Quick was a great last line of defense.
Bronze — Erik Karlsson — Sweden
Maybe Karlsson just loves the wide ice that much. One thing is abundantly clear, Karlsson on the power play is just dangerous in so many ways. That makes him fantasy relevant whether it is the NHL, KHL, Olympics, SEL, etc. He plays a ton of minutes and fired another goal into the back of the net that turned out to be a game winner for Sweden. On the man advantage, he is downright frightening and he could be a threat that Canada may have trouble with on Sunday. Karlsson is not only a fantasy hockey beast from the defense but also he is a game changer.