For the second Olympic tournament in a row, Team USA defeated the host country in the preliminary round, this time besting Russia 3-2 in a heart-stopping shootout.
Russia opened the scoring as Pavel Datsyuk scored his first of his two goals of the game. Cam Fowler answered with a power play goal that bounced off of his foot and into the net. Fowler, however, did not demonstrate a distinct kicking motion, and the goal was allowed. The Americans took the lead when Patrick Kane fed Joe Pavelski for a nifty one-timer that found its way into the net. Pavelski's goal was yet another power play tally for the Americans. Datsyuk would tie the game with his second goal of the game, and Russia appeared to have taken the lead just minutes later, but the goal was disallowed due to the net being knocked just slightly off of its moorings.
Overtime wasn't enough for the two powerhouses, even with Team USA having a power play to open the extra frame. The shootout would begin, and the rules of international hockey would prove to be a fun twist. In international play, a player can be used more than once after the first three shooters have taken their shots with a winner yet to be decided. That is just what happened. TJ Oshie scored on his first attempt, but Ilya Kovalchuk scored on Russia's final attempt to tie the shootout and force extra shooters. Oshie ended up with four shootout goals, and took every extra shot for the Americans, while the Russians alternated between Datsyuk and Kovalchuk.
Jonathan Quick played an average game in the shootout, while showing flashes of brilliance during the game. The goal that was disallowed, however, was a weak shot from the point, and had it counted, may have had the coaching staff reevaluate their goaltending situation, as Ryan Miller continues to wait his turn.
With the win, the Americans have a chance to earn an automatic bye in the semifinals. The Americans wrap up the preliminary round at 7:30 a.m. Sunday EST against Slovenia, which beat Slovakia 3-1 Saturday for its first-ever Olympic hockey victory.
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