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US, Russian hockey teams wrap close game

Published On: Feb 15 2014 09:19:41 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2014 02:23:05 PM CST
Russia, US  Olympics hockey game

Mark Blinch / Reuters

The United States beat Russia 3-2 in a shootout in their preliminary round game Saturday at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

T.J. Oshie got it past Sergei Bobrovski to open the shootout, but the Russian goalie then stopped Joe Pavelski and James Van Riemsdyk. American goalie Jonathan Quick stopped the first two Russian shooters, but Ilya Kovalchuk scored on Russia's third attempt.

The game then went to an extra shootout, with the teams alternating shooters until one side came out ahead. Oshie took all the shots for the U.S., beating Bobrovski on three of his four shots, while Pavel Datsyuk and Kovalchuk each scored on their first attempts, but were turned away by Quick on their next two to give the U.S. the game in an 4-3 eight-inning shootout.

The matchup harkened back to the "Miracle on Ice," when the U.S. beat the Soviet Union at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. Considered one of the greatest upsets in sports history, Team USA went on to lock up the gold medal in 1980.

After a scoreless first period, Datsyuk opened up scoring for the Russians at 9:15 of the second. Cam Fowler answered for the Americans seven minutes later to tie the game up.

Pavelski put the U.S. up briefly in the third period before Datsyuk answered with his second goal of the game to tie it up 2-2. The game stood at the score through overtime as both teams came up empty.

The Americans entered Saturday's game with a 3-8-1 all-time record against Russia/Soviet Union in head-to-head games, including only one win in four meetings since their victory in 1980.

Saturday’s victory for the U.S. means they will almost certainly win their group and earn a bye to the quarterfinals. Both teams will close out the three-game preliminary round on Sunday, with Team USA facing Slovenia and Russia taking on Slovakia.

Playoff qualifications are Tuesday, with the quarterfinals on Thursday and the semifinals on Friday.

The winners from the semis will face off in the gold medal game at 7 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, Feb. 23, with the bronze medal game taking place the day before.

Team USA opened tournament play on Thursday with a 7-1 win over Slovakia that saw the game break open after a six-goal flurry for the Americans in the second period.

Paul Stastny scored two of the American's seven goals against Slovakia while Ryan Kesler, David Backes, Phil Kessel, Dustin Brown and John Carlson also scored. Kessel also added two assists in the victory.

Russia, meanwhile, opened its tournament on Thursday with a closer-than-expected 5-2 win over Slovenia, getting goals from Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Valeri Nichushkin, Ilya Kovalchuk and Anton Belov.

Russia hasn't medaled since a bronze in 2002 and also won a silver in 1998, while the Americans won silver in Vancouver in 2010, just their second medal since the 1980 Olympics.

The Soviet Union medaled in every Winter Olympics from 1952 to 1988, including eight gold medals in those nine Olympic Games, and also won gold as the "Unified Team" in 1992 during the Soviet Union's breakup. Team USA has 11 total Olympic medals in men's hockey, although only two of them are gold (1960 and 1980).

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