T.J. Oshie delivers epic shootout performance to lift U.S.A. over Russia
This game footage will be in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame one day.
The United States. The Russian Federation. Hockey.
Oshie nets the game-winner (APhoto/D.Phillip)
Those few simple words mean so much in the history of the Olympics, and this new generation of players on both sides delivered another unforgettable moment that will be remembered for decades.
The United States outlasted the Russians 3-2 in a highly anticipated and highly contested matchup that certainly delivered to the best of its ability.
It was T.J. Oshie's heroic performance in the shootout frame that catapulted the Red White and Blue past the host nation and set themselves up in prime positioning for the knockout round.
The game-up had everything that makes a hockey so great:
Big hits. Big goals. Ridiculous skill. Toughness. Intensity. And pressure.
In the end, it was the Americans who came out on top and announced to the hockey world that they are more than ready and willing to bring home the Gold.
The eight round shootout was obviously incredible, but there was 65 minutes of hockey played before the gauntlet that wasn't too shabby, either.
A scoreless first period saw plenty of great chances, but both goalies stood tall and turned aside all shots.
Datsyuk does his thing (APPhoto/J.Cortez)
In the second, it was Russia's captain Pavel Datsyuk whoput the home country on the board first, when he did typical Pavel Datsyuk stuff, receiving a pass from just outside the blue line and bursting by John Carlson and Brooks Orpik before wristing a laser-beam shot past the glove of Jonathan Quick at 9:15.
An awful penalty by Alexander Radulov miles away from the puck put the Americans on the powerplay, and they took full advantage of the mental error, when Cam Fowler netted his first-career Olympic goal at 16:34.
Phil Kessel ripped off a shot from the face-off circle, and Sergei Bobrovsky made the pad save but didn't control the rebound. David Backes and James van Riemsdyk both jammed in front of the net, and it was JVR who got the deft-touch on the puck and put it in the path of the crashing Cam Fowler, who played it off his skate and got his stick on it all in one slick motion.
The Americans took the lead at 9:27 of the third, again on the powerplay and again it was Radulov who was in the box, this time for a hook. Joe Pavelski blasted home a one-timer off the feed from Patrick Kane, and boy was it gorgeous. From the far wall, Kane threaded the needle through the zone and found Pavelski all alone just inside the face-off circle, and from one knee rocketed home the sublime pass past Bobrovsky.
Pavelski gives the U.S. the lead (APPhoto/D. Phillip)
But the lead didn't last for long (just under three minutes), and again it was Datsuyk who did it for Russia. On the powerplay due to a Dustin Brown kneeing penalty, Pavel wasted little time, scoring just 18 seconds into the man-advantage, using the aforementioned Radulov as a screen in front of Quick to rip the shot under his pad to tie the game.
The Russians thought they had the lead and in all likelihood the win when Fedor Tutyin let loose a flying shot from the blue-line, where it passed by a few elevated sticks and beat Quick over the shoulder and ricocheted off the back crossbar so fast, many of the players on the ice thought it didn't go in at all.
The video replay showed it did in fact go in the net, so the question seemingly was, did it get tipped by a high-stick on the way by?
After the refs waved off the goal, it looked like the fix was in, but in a bizarre twist, against the home country. But the goal was not waved off because of an illegal tip, but because the net was off its moorings when Quick went post-to-post just before the shot. Under international rules, goals are not allowed if the net is off its moorings.
The U.S. dodged a huge bullet, and the Russians were left to play out the rest of the game, which went into overtime and eventually a shootout.
Patrick Kane had a glorious breakaway chance in OT, but Bobrovsky stoned him when Kane tried to beat him five-hole.
So the game went to the shootout, and it was about as epic as a shootout can be.
International rules let you repeat shooters after the first three rounds, and as it was, T.J. Oshie went toe-to-toe trading blows with Russia's two-headed monster of Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuck.
Oshie pops the bottle (Al Bello/GettyImages)
Oshie scored on four of his six attempts, twice scoring to extend the shootout in the fifth and sixth round, as well as the dagger in the bottom of the eighth to seal the win for the U.S.
The U.S. can clinch Group A and receive an automatic bye into the quarterfinals when they finish their group play tomorrow versus Slovenia. They are still in the running for the No. 1 overall seed, but it is no longer in the U.S.'s control after they lost the one point due to this game going into overtime.