SPOILER WARNING: Team USA vs. Team Russia in Olympic hockey thriller
SOCHI, Russia - In a rare instance of a game exceeding its advance billing, Team USA and Team Russia battled hard and evenly through 65 deliciously tense minutes before T.J. Oshie scored the deciding shootout tally in the eighth round of the tiebreaking procedure to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Unlike NHL rules, international rules permit shooters to take multiple shots after the first three rounds of the shootout. Oshie had shot six times before giving the U.S. the win. U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick of the Kings stopped 29 shots in regulation and overtime. Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovski of the Columbus Blue Jackets stopped 32.
The U.S. had taken a 2-1 lead at 9:27 of the third period on a power-play goal by Joe Pavelski, set up on a perfect cross-ice pass from Patrick Kane, but Pavel Datsyuk brought Russia even with his second goal of the game. Using Alexander Radulov as a screen, he rifled a nasty wrist shot past Quick at 12:44, with Kings winger Dustin Brown in the penalty box serving for a penalty he had taken in the offensive zone.
An apparent goal by Russia defenseman Fyodor Tyutin at 15:20 of the third period was waved off because the net had come off its moorings well before the puck went into it.
U.S. winger Patrick Kane was stopped on a breakaway in overtime by Bobrovsky.
The U.S. will complete preliminary-round play on Sunday against Slovenia, which on Saturday recorded its first-ever Olympic triumph with a 3-1 victory over Slovakia.
The pace and passion of the game were everything a hockey fan could hope for. Russia's transition game was dazzlingly fast; the Americans' capacity for absorbing pain was demonstrated again and again as they blocked hard shots to blunt Russian scoring chances.
U.S. center Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks had to go to the locker room for treatment during the second period after blocking a shot by Ilya Kovalchuk with his hand, but he didn't miss much time. Of course he didn't. He's a hockey player and this was a game both teams were anticipating eagerly.
Russia scored first, at 9:15 of the second period. Datsyuk, who has been working his magic for the Detroit Red Wings for years, did it again for his homeland. He split the U.S. defense of John Carlson and Brooks Orpik and unleashed a wrist shot that beat Quick to the glove side.
The U.S. pulled even during a power play it had gained when Radulov was sent off for crosschecking. Fowler, playing the point across from Ryan Suter, pinched in and was in front of the net when a bouncing puck deflected off his skate and into the net. After a brief review, the goal was allowed to stand, at 16:34.
Assists went to Phil Kessel, who had taken a shot from the left wing, and former Univ. of New Hampshire star James van Riemsdyk, who apparently got a piece of the puck in front during a very active and effective shift.