USA down Russia in hockey shootout thriller
American T.J. Oshie scores past Russia's goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovski during a penalty shootout session at the Bolshoy Ice Dome during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 15, 2014 in Sochi - by Alexander Nemenov
Oshie took six of eight shots for the Americans in the shootout, firing it between the legs of Russian netminder Sergei Bobrovski on the final one to clinch the victory in the preliminary round game in dramatic fashion.
Oshie's winner came moments after Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk had failed to score on what turned out to be his last shootout attempt.
"I guess every kid guy growing up wants to do the shootout and go out and mess around and practise it so tonight it paid off," Oshie said.
Oshie scored on four of his six shootout shots as he went head to head with Russians Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk, who took seven of their eight shootout tries between them.
"I think you are going to see T.J. Oshie become a household name after that display he put on," said USA forward David Backes. "The kids will be out on the pond in Minnesota right now throwing it five hole (between his legs)."
Joe Pavelski and Cam Fowler scored powerplay goals for the Americans with both coming while Russian forward Alexander Radulov was sitting in the penalty box.
Pavel Datsyuk had two goals in regulation for the Russians, who desperately want to win an Olympic gold medal on home soil at the 2014 Games.
The Russia-USA preliminary round match brought back memories of the "Miracle on Ice" game at Lake Placid in 1980, when a USA team made up of college players and amateurs beat the Soviet Union, who had won four consecutive gold medals.
Even though the 1980 game was not for a gold medal it is regarded as one of the greatest hockey upsets ever.
It was another emotional and high intensity contest on Saturday in front of a crowd of 11,678 at the Bolshoy Ice Dome. The atmosphere inside the arena was electric as the raucous pro-Russian crowd chanted "Ru-ssia, Ru-ssia" and waved red, white and blue flags.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was also in the building, sitting in the second level next to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.
A USA-Russia game would not be complete without some controversy.
With the score tied 2-2 in the third period, the Russians appeared to score the winner with just under five minutes left, but referees Marcus Vinnerborg and Brad Meier disallowed the goal, apparently after Jonathan Quick knocked the net out of place with his skate.
"The net was off," said Quick. "I am pretty sure if that is the rule and the net is off it (goal) doesn't count."
The USA have now won both their preliminary round matches after beating Slovakia 7-1 on Thursday.
The Russians drop to 1-1. They beat Slovenia 5-2 in their opener.
Russia and the USA have now met four times at the Olympic Games with the Americans holding the edge with two wins, a loss and a tie.
Russia beat the USA 5-4 the last time the teams played, at the Torino 2006 Games.