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USA Hockey Defeats Russia in Preliminary Round, Takes Shot at Gold

Chief Sports Editor

Published: Friday, February 21, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 21:02


 

As the Olympics continue the rest of this week, excitement builds for the United States hockey team as they take their shot at gold.  If the preliminary games told us anything it is that the United States team looks confident and believes that this is finally the year they can take home the gold.   

The preliminary games started with a dominating 7-1 win over Slovakia.  However, that is not the focus of attention nor why Americans should be confident in the team this year.  By far, the biggest game thus far for Team USA was the epic game against Russia that became an instant classic and showed how a country can rally behind a team. 

   In the opening period of that game, the teams appeared to be evenly matched as the action went back and forth with no team gaining a decisive edge.  The game was tied 0-0 after one period. Team Russia finally opened the scoring in the second when Pavel Datsyuk ripped a shot by the glove of goaltender Jonathan Quick.  Shortly after, Team USA took advantage of a power play opportunity and scored off the skate of Cam Fowler (allowed because he did use a distinct kicking motion). 

   The score remained knotted at one heading into the third period.  The United States grabbed the lead on a power play when Patrick Kane made a backdoor pass to Joe Pavelski who scored on Sergei Bobrovsky.  Although the United States had taken the lead, Russia was too dangerous to count out at that point.  After Dustin Brown committed a penalty, Russia took advantage of their opportunity when Datsyuk scored his second goal of the game. 

   Russia seized on the momentum from scoring the tying goal and scored again when Fedor Tyutin ripped a shot past Quick that went off the post and in with about 5 minutes left in the period.  Although the collective hearts of US supporters across the country seemed to have been broken (I know I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me), all hope was not lost. Before Tyutin shot the puck, Quick had dislodged the net while making another save.  Now, in the NHL the goal by Tyutin may have counted, but in the Olympics anytime the net is dislodged any goal scored does not count.  The refs waved off the goal and set up the possibility for the miraculous to occur. 

   The game was tied 2-2 heading into a five minute overtime.  The best chance to score occurred when Patrick Kane had a breakaway on Bobrovsky.  However, Bobrovsky made an excellent save by blocking Kane’s attempt to score through the five-hole.  After five minutes, the score remained tied meaning that a winner had to be decided with a shootout. 

   This moment propelled two players into the national spotlight.  After three rounds of a shootout, the United States and Russia each scored once. The shootout rules state that a coach can use whoever he wants as long as three different players each shoot in the first three rounds.  Team USA coach Dan Bylsma only needed to rely on one player after those first three rounds.  That player was T.J. Oshie

   Oshie plays for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL and was picked for the team specifically because his skillset allows him to be a great player during shootouts.  He was the only US skater out of the first three selected to score on Bobrovsky.  After that point, Bylsma knew who would be his scorer from that point onward.  In total, Oshie had six shootout attempts.  He used different moves every time and demonstrated his versatility in all of his attempts on Bobrovsky.  Fittingly, he ended the shootout the way he started.  He scored the first and last goals of the shootout by going five-hole on Bobrovsky.  If you 

have not seen his many attempts yet, you should definitely look it 

up because the 27 year old has at

tracted 130,000 more Twitter followers and received a congratulatory tweet from President Obama. From USA, page 13  

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