Saturday, February 15, 2014

USA beats Russia in SO; win not without controversy

Sochi, Russia -- The host Russians wanted this game badly, for top seeding in Group A, for bragging rights over their rivals, and to dispel any notion of a collapse after barely beating Slovenia in their Olympic opener.

What they got was a loss as bitter as it was controversial.

T.J. Oshie eventually beat Sergei Bobrovsky in the eighth round of a shootout, as Team USA claimed a 3-2 victory over the host nation on Saturday morning, but it shouldn't have gotten that far.

Late in regulation, Quick was following the direction of play when he slid across his crease and slammed feet-first into the right post. Using his glove as leverage, on the pushoff, the net came off its moorings slightly as that peg was dislodged, not enough for officials to blow play dead.

Seconds later, Fedor Tyutin appeared to give Russia a 3-2 advantage with a long shot, but the goal was waved off after Quick motioned to the loose peg and officials ruled in the Americans' favor.

Sergei Bobrovsky was not affected by that setback, as he kept the game even with a spectacular save in overtime with Patrick Kane roaring in alone.

In the shootout, Oshie was leaned on six times, scoring four. His final shot was the game-decider, helping Quick -- who made five saves in the game's final segment -- pick up 29 stops in regulation for his second straight win. Ilya Kovalchuk, who measured the Kings' goaltender twice previously, planted his final shot into Quick's glove ahead of Oshie's forehander.

Quick was helpless, as was the American defense, to stop Pavel Datsyuk on a breakaway up the middle for the first goal of the contest at 9:15 of the second period. Cam Fowler evened the score on a power play, sneaking into the right side to tap in a James van Riemsdyk feed at 16:34.

Pavelski provided the Americans with a 2-1 lead just prior to the midway point of the third period, rifling home a fade-away one-timer off a pass from Kane.

The hosts struck to tie, though, just over three minutes later as Datsyuk fired away from the bottom of the right circle and beat a screened Quick.

Preliminary-round play concludes on Sunday morning with Team USA taking on Slovenia and Russia facing Slovakia.

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