What a game.
Russia and the U.S. put on an Olympic performance for the ages on Saturday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, engaging in a thrilling affair that ended with four — yes, four — T.J. Oshie shootout goals as the Americans beat the Russians 3-2.
With international hockey rules allowing teams to send out the same shooters multiple times, the U.S. chose Oshie to shoot six times in the eight-round affair (Joe Pavelski and James van Riemsdyk took the others) while the Russians sent out Ilya Kovalchuk four times (scored twice), Pavel Datsyuk three (scored once) and Evgeni Malkin once.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” American defenseman Ryan McDonagh told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman following the game.
The lead-up to the shootout was equally dramatic. The Americans and Russians engaged in a thrilling 65 minutes of action, with Datsyuk opening the scoring midway through the second period, only to have Cam Fowler — at 22, the youngest American on the ice — even it up with less than four minutes to go in the frame.
The teams then exchanged power play goals in the third period — Pavelski for the U.S., Datsyuk for Russia — before heading to overtime.
But going to the extra session wasn’t without drama of its own.
Russia looked to have taken a crucial lead late in the game when Fedor Tyutin’s point shot got past Jonathan Quick with 4:40 left to play. But after review, the net was deemed to be off its pegs — by the slightest of margins — and the goal was disallowed, giving the Americans new life.
The overtime session was thrilling, and the highlight came when Russia’s Sergei Bobrovsky, making his Olympic debut, stoned Patrick Kane on a clear-cut breakaway.
Datsyuk and defenseman Andrei Markov led all scorers with two points each, while the Americans continued the narrative of balanced attack with seven different players notching single points.
In performances that fit the overall narrative, both goalies were outstanding — Quick stopped 29 of 31 shots while Bobrovsky stopped 31 of 33.