The United States men’s hockey team and Russia met for the first time in the 2014 Winter Olympics on Saturday morning, and the game was everything that the fans could have hoped for. The game was decided in a shootout, where Team USA relied heavily on St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie to become the hero and deliver the win.
You could tell from the opening puck drop that this game was personal, as the physicality and energy from the athletes was at the highest level we have seen throughout the Sochi Games.
Pavel Datsyuk kicked off the scoring for Russia midway through the second period after a scoreless first, but the United States answered with a huge power play goal by Cam Fowler. We had a tie game throughout the first half of the final period, until Joe Pavelski took advantage of another power play for the Americans to give Team USA a 2-1 lead.
Datsyuk scored his second goal of the game late in the third to draw even again, before Russia scored what appeared to be their third goal of the game to take the lead.
However, the net was dislodged and the goal was called off, so the game headed to overtime tied up at two goals a piece.
Neither team was able to score in the overtime period despite plenty of quality chances, so the game was set to be decided in a shootout.
T.J. Oshie started off the shootout for Team USA by sneaking a puck past Sergei Bobrovsky and Evgeni Malkin was unable to answer for the Russian squad. Bobrovsky was able to keep Russia alive by turning away James van Riemsdyk.
Joe Pavelski had an opportunity to win for the United States, but he got a little too fancy for his own good and was unable to convert, before Ilya Kovalchuk stormed down the ice and beat Jonathan Quick glove side to force extra shots.
Russia got to go first in the extra shots, but his shot went wide after Quick got a piece of the puck. The puck then went back to Oshie who had the opportunity to win the game for Team USA, but he sailed the puck over the net.
Datsyuk redeemed himself on the second shot attempt, where the ball trickled through the legs of Quick into the back of the net to give Russia the lead. All the pressure was on Oshie for his third attempt, which he scored to keep Team USA alive.
Kovalchuk got his third shot of the night, which he easily converted with a filthy shot to once again put Russia ahead. Unfortunately for Russia, Oshie was in the zone and barely snuck one past Bobrovsky to even up the score.
Quick blocked the next shot from Datsyuk, which gave Oshie another opportunity to win the game for Team USA, but Bobrovsky sent the puck wide of the net as Oshie went for the backhand.
Kovalchuk thought he had Quick beat on the next shot, but there was no opening to sneak the puck into the net. Finally, Oshie scored the game-winning shot on the eighth shot to give Team USA the big win.
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