Team USA faced off against the Russian national team, at the 2014 Sochi Olympics today in what a powerhouse battle of two of the favorites to win gold at the games. Both teams brought a lot of fire and intensity from the get-go, playing a physical style with the Americans blocking shots left and right, but it was ultimately TJ Oshie, who went four-for-six in the shootout, who secured victory for the US.
The game was a goalie duel until the very end. Both Jonathan Quick and Sergei Bobrovski were spectacular, with Quick making several big saves to keep the Americans in the game when the Russians put heavy pressure on. But, it was ultimately TJ Oshie, a forward for the St. Louis Blues in the National Hockey League, who came up big and won the game for the Americans in the shootout.
After ending regulation at a 2-2 tie, the game went into a five-minute, four-on-four overtime period. Patrick Kane got loose for a breakaway mid-way through OT, but was stonewalled by Bobrovski – who came up big again moments later with another big chance from the US. Scoreless after five, the game went into a shootout.
For those who don’t know, after the initial round of three shooters, if the shootout goes into extra rounds then a player can shoot again…and again, and again. Oshie opened the shootout by netting a five-hole goal. Malkin, van Reimsdyke, Datsyul and Pavelski all missed on their attempts, but Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk kept his team alive by putting one past quick in the third round. From there on out, it was basically Oshie vs Kovalchuk and Datsyuk, as the Russians rotated between the two stars and Oshie kept getting the call for the US. Oshie kept his team going several times after Kovalchuk and Datsyuk scored, but Team USA ultimately came out on top after Quick made a save on Kovalchuk and Oshie buried his next shot behind Bobrovski.
“His hockey sense is off the charts and he makes plays,” teammate David Backes said. “Today he got to do it in front of a lot of spectators here and a lot of spectators back home.”
The game was as good as it gets for hockey fans, and a heck of a roller coaster. While the NHL worries about the safety of its players in the Olympics, fans are certainly appreciative of their efforts in arguably the world’s biggest stage for hockey, and a game like this will only make it more difficult for the NHL to pull players from future games. With this only being a preliminary round event, the Olympic hockey tournament is shaping up to be a nail-biter and one heck of a show.
Check out video of the full shootout below.