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Olympic hockey bracket set as Team USA earns #1 seed

Note: This article was written at the end of the round-robin portion of the tournament, but I've updated the bracket below with the latest results!

As the round-robin portion of the 2010 Olympic mens hockey tournament drew to a close with Sweden's 3-0 win over Finland, the elimination bracket that leads to the gold medal is finally set.

With 12 teams in the tournament, upon completion of the round-robin they will be ranked 1-12, and placed in a single-elimination bracket that will play out over the course of the week. The top four teams all earn a bye into the quarterfinal round. On Tuesday, however, the other 8 teams will play for the right to join them; and all but one of those matchups is now set.

Follow after the jump for a look at the bracket as it stands so far...

Thanks to their 5-3 triumph over Canada, Team USA has earned a bye into the quarterfinals, and as the tournament's #1 seed, the preferred schedule on the road to a possible gold medal game (three of the pre-tournament gold medal favorites, Sweden, Canada and Russia, are all on the other side of the bracket). Sweden was the only other team to make it through the round-robin with a 3-0 record, but the Americans had the better goal differential to snag the top spot.

The surprising development here is that Canada will have to win 4 games from here on in to win the gold medal, and while they are expected to beat Germany handily on Tuesday, it should be noted that all the Quarterfinal Games will be played on Wednesday, against rested teams that will have the opportunity to practice and observe their upcoming opponent. In Canada's case, that means a date with Russia, in what will likely be a sensational game.

Coming up on Tuesday, we'll have #8 Switzerland vs. #9 Belarus in what should be a tight battle, #7 Slovakia which should be heavily favored over #10 Norway, and #12 Latvia against the #5 Czech Republic.

2010 Olympic Mens Hockey Bracket
 Playoff Qualifier 1 Quarterfinal 1
#8 Switzerland
#1 USA
#9 Belarus #8 Switzerland Semifinal 1
 Playoff Qualifier 2 Quarterfinal 2 #1 USA
Gold Medal
#5 Czech Republic #4 Finland #4 Finland
#1 USA
#12 Latvia #5 Czech Republic #6 Canada
 Playoff Qualifier 3 Quarterfinal 3
#7 Slovakia #2 Sweden Bronze Medal
#10 Norway #7 Slovakia
Semifinal 2 #4 Finland
 Playoff Qualifier 4 Quarterfinal 4 #7 Slovakia
#7 Slovakia
#6 Canada W 8-2 #3 Russia #6 Canada
#11 Germany #6 Canada


Bronze Medal Game: Saturday, February 27

Gold Medal Game: Sunday, February 28

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