Well, I think I speak for everyone when I say that's definitely one heck of a way to start a Saturday morning off. The United States shocked most of the world this morning as they defeated the hometown Russian's 3-2 in exciting fashion. T.J. Oshie scored not once, but four separate times in the shootout to lead the American's to a massive shootout victory. Due to IIHF rules, after the first three shooters take their attempts, the coach can go back to any player in his lineup, even if he has taken an attempt already. I'll tell you one thing, Dan Bylsma sure has some guts to put out the same guy in sudden death, and it wound up paying off massively in the end.
If you were awake for the beginning of this game, you definitely wouldn't have expected the outcome to be what it was at the end of the game. The Russian's were completely amped up to start this game, and rightfully so, they were playing a massive game in front of their home crowd. Luckily enough for the American's, they were able to slip out of the first period without giving up a goal, and were able to keep the Russian's at bay.
Finally in the second period, USA started to push the pace in the offensive zone, and started going to work on their aggressive forecheck. After a few failed attempts at the other end of the ice, the Russian's quickly transitioned with a perfect stretch pass from Andrei Markov. He was able to find Pavel Datysuk streaking through the neutral zone, and sprung him in on a partial breakaway. With the defenders quickly closing in behind him, Datsyuk ripped a shot through the legs of Jonathon Quick and gave the home team a 1-0 lead.
Every goal is pretty deflating when it comes to Olympic hockey, and especially against a tough Russian team, that opening goal was tough to see. However, it would only last a little over seven minutes as USA was handed a power play off of a mind boggling penalty from Alexander Radulov. With a little less than three minutes remaining in the period, Cam Fowler wound up tapping in a rebound at the top of the crease, and slipped the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky to knot the game up at 1-1.
It was an absolutely massive goal for the American's, as they were able to pull even before the second intermission, and it wound up paying huge dividends. Halfway through the third period, Radulov was whistled down for yet another penalty, and USA made it pay once again. This time it was Joe Pavelski who cashed in off of a beautiful cross ice feed from Patrick Kane, and he ripped it into the yawning net. As big of a goal as it was, the American's had to figure a massive push back from the Russian's at that point in the game. Sure enough, it was Pavel Datsyuk yet again at the 12:44 mark as he powered a shot through a screen in front, and beat Quick through the legs for the second time this game.
A few minutes after the tying goal, it appeared as if the Russian's had taken back the lead as Fedor Tytuin's shot glanced off of the back bar, and chaos ensued. The officials wound up reviewing the goal, and initially, everyone thought it was because of a high stick from Alexander Radulov in the high slot. However, after some investigative work, it was noted that the goal was disallowed because the net was slightly off its moorings. By IIHF rules, the net cannot be altered from it's original position, even if it's technically still touching the goal line.
A lot of people will likely say the American's got away with one there, but by definition of the rule book, it's absolutely the right call. With both teams being held scoreless for the remainder of regulation, this game would be decided in extra time. USA had a carry over power play from the third period, but weren't able to generate much with the extra room on the 4-on-3. With both teams remaining scoreless again, the shootout would be the deciding factor of this amazing game.
T.J. Oshie, Pavel Datsyuk, and Ilya Kovalchuk were the goal scorers in the shootout, but at the end of the day, it was Oshie who capped the game off with the game winning goal in round eight. As mentioned above, teams can continue to go back to the same shooter after the third round, and Oshie was definitely the right choice by Bylsma. The United States will close out the preliminary round tomorrow as they faceoff against Slovenia, and with a win, they will secure a bye to the Quarterfinals.