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You usually never want to see a fantastic game end in a shootout, but in this thrilling chapter of the USA and Russia rivalry, you can make an exception.
After eight nail biting rounds of the shootout, Team USA prevailed riding the stick of first-time Olympian TJ Oshie of theSt. Louis Blues. Oshie, who holds a career 54.4% in the shootout, went for 4 for 6 and scored all four shootout goals for the Americans. On his final attempt, he beat Russian net minder Sergei Bobrosvky (Columbus Blue Jackets) through the five-hole to clinch the victory for the U.S. and first place in Group A for the time being.
Team USA was lucky to be in the shootout in the first place as a potential game winning goal for the Russians was waved off late in the third period.
Russian defenseman Fyodor Tyutin beat American goalie Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings) with a beautiful rising slapper from the blue line. However, upon further review, the referees declared it a no-goal as the net was dislodged by just a few inches.
If this was a NHL game, the goal would've stood, but in international hockey, the rules are much different.
According to Yahoo Sports Greg Wyshynski, the International Ice Hockey Federation’s rule stated that Tyutin's goal didn't stand because the net had been displaced from its normal position, or the frame of the goal net is not completely flat on the ice. Even though it was slight, the net was displaced, and the goal was waved off.
The U.S. defense did a fantastic job for the most part containing the Russians’ high powered offense. They were able to kill 5 out of 6 Russian power plays. In addition, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Ilya Kovalchuk had a combined one point for the game.
But Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit Red Wings) was the only one who had the US defense figured out. Datsyuk put in two important goals in the second and third periods.
Bobrosvky received his first start of the tournament and was brilliant mostly. Bobrovsky saved 31 of the 33 shots he faced, including two impressive saves in the overtime period.
Quick had a great game both in regulation and the shootout. He stopped 29 of 31 shots and had a crucial glove save in final round of the shootout on Ilya Kovalchuk. It looks like it is Quick’s net to lose.
Team USA must be better in 5 on 5 situations. They could not take advantage of the Russians’ weak defense and were unable to establish any resemblance of a strong forecheck. Also, they scored their two lone goals on the power play.
The first period was scoreless as neither team did not have many grade-A chances. But the action picked up fast in the second period. Ryan McDonagh and Ryan Kesler made two pivotal blocks during a penalty kill to keep Russia off the board.
However, Russia eventually struck first as Datsyuk skated through the middle of the U.S. defense and beat Quick with a wrist shot glove side.
After a boneheaded cross-checking penalty committed by Alexander Radulov, the U.S. took advantage of the gifted power play. Toronto Maple Leafs’ James van Riemsdyk collected a rebound and fed defenseman Cam Fowler with a beautiful cross crease pass and knocked the puck in with his left skate. The goal was Fowler’s first of his Olympic career.
In the third period, team USA took advantage of yet another Radulov penalty. Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane found San Jose Sharks’ Joe Pavelski skating backdoor for a one-time slapper to beat Bobrovsky.
But the Russians would tie things up three minutes later with a power play goal of their own. After a Dustin Brown kneeing penalty, Datsyuk beat Quick with another wrist shot between his glove and left pad just 18 seconds into the man advantage.
Following a chance by Kovalchuk, who rang it off the post with a shot, Tyutin scored on a slapper from the point to seemingly give the Russians a 3-2 lead. Quick pointed out to the referees that the net was off its mooring and the goal was waved off after review.
In overtime, Kane had two chances to seal the game for the U.S. including an one-on-one breakway but Bobrobsky stood tall.
The shootout period was possibly as good, if not better, than the game. Oshie was the first man up for team USA and he beat Bobrosvky five-hole. Malkin, van Riemsdyk, Datsyuk, and Pavelski were unsuccessful in their attempts.
Former NHL’er and New Jersey Devil Kovalchuk tied it smoothly beating Quick glove side, but could not give the Russians the lead in his second attempt.
In the extra rounds, head coach Dan Bylsma stuck with the hot hand and shootout specialist in Oshie. Oshie also missed in his second attempt as he had Bobrovsky beat but sailed the puck over the net.
Datsyuk took advantage of his second attempt and gave Russia a temporary lead, squeaking it by Quick. Oshie, smiling, went for the third time and kept the United States alive and once again he beat Bobrosvky through his legs. Kovalchuk came right back, however, with another smooth looking goal, fooling Quick with a soft shot.
In his fourth shot, Oshie was clutch again, but this time roofing the puck off the crossbar and fell just behind the goal line. Datsyuk went for a third time, but was unsuccessful as he tried to beat Quick between the legs.
With another chance to win it, Oshie failed to do so as he went to his backhand for the first time and Bobrosvky got a stick on the puck to knock it away. Kovalchuck failed on his fourth and final attempt after seemingly having Quick beat, but he was able to stretch out and make a beautiful glove save on the KHL star.
Finally after eight grueling rounds of the shootout, Oshie sealed it for the United States. Like his first and third attempts, Oshie beat Bobrosvky five-hole.
The United States (2-0) will play their final game against a scrappy Slovenia (1-1) tomorrow at 7:30 AM. With a victory, team USA can claim a guaranteed and important BYE to the medal rounds.
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