ADLER, Russia - The men's hockey contest between the United States and Russia played on Saturday at the Olympics can't ever be compared to the Miracle on Ice game that took place in Lake Placid in 1980. But it was contest that's going to be talked about for a long time.
In a much-anticipated matchup played before nearly 12,000 fans - who were mostly rooting for the host team but all seemingly decked out in the red, white and blue colors of both countries - T.J. Oshie became a hero for the Americans when he scored in the eighth round of a shootout to lift the U.S. to a 3-2 victory.
In fact, Oshie put four pucks past Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovski during the shootout, with his last goal finally deciding the outcome of a game that was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation and then went through a scoreless a five-minute sudden-death overtime. In international hockey, three different players must be selected during the first three rounds of a shootout, and after that, any player can go in each of the next rounds. For the U.S., it was Oshie every time out, and it turned out to be a great decision.
Oshie went 4-for-6 in the shootout against Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovski. He scored on his first shot, and after two players from both teams came up empty in the following rounds, Ilya Kovalchuk beat American goalie Jonathan Quick to extend the game.
Both teams scored in the fourth and fifth rounds, with Oshie notching a pair and Pavel Datsyuk and Kovalchuk netting Russia's goals. Oshie and Datsyuk each came up empty in the seventh. Quick stopped Kovalchuk on Russia's eighth attempt to give Oshie another chance, and the 27-year-old sent the puck into the right side of the net to send his teammates onto the ice in celebration.
"I was glad it ended when it did because I was running out of moves," Oshie said. "I had a real good partner in the other net."
Oshie said he didn't expect to be picked, but when his name was called, he thought, "I was just trying to keep the game going and put the puck in the net."
"I was fortunate to make that save and give T.J. another opportunity to go and win it, and he did," Quick said. "I've faced him in shootouts before and haven't done well, so I'm glad he's on our team. It was an exceptional game.
"Russia is a high-caliber team," Quick added. "To play a team like Russia and go back and forth was exciting. They brought their game and we brought our game and it could have gone either way."
After a scoreless opening period, Russia took the lead on a goal from Datsyuk 9:15 into the second stanza. Cam Fowler, a 22-year-old who plays for the Anaheim Ducks, notched the equalizer later in the period on a power-play to send the teams into the second intermission in a 1-1 deadlock.
Joe Pavelski gave the Americans a 2-1 lead when he scored a second U.S. power-play goal midway through the third period, but Russia responded on Datsyuk's second goal of regulation with 7:26 left in the third period. With the score tied at 2-2, Russia appeared to net the goal-ahead goal with 4:20 remaining that was waved off after the net had apparently been dislodged, much to the dismay of the decisively home crowd.
The U.S. held a 34-31 edge in shots on goal.
The win was the second in as many games for the Americans at the Olympics after they beat Slovakia 7-1 on Thursday. The U.S. wraps up its pool-round play today against Slovenia.