Sochi, Russian Federation (4E Sports) – T.J. Oshie went 4-for-6 in the shootout to help the United States escape with a tight 3-2 win over Russia in Saturday’s men’s hockey preliminary round game in front of 11,678 spectators at Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Oshie scored in the first, fifth, sixth and eighth rounds of the shootout. Jonathan Quick’s glove save on Ilya Kovalchuk in the top of the eighth round gave Oshie the chance to win the game by beating Russia goalie Sergei Bobrovsky for the winner in the bottom half.
Oshie’s goals in the fifth and sixth rounds kept the shootout alive. Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, who had both of Russia’s goals in regulation, gave the Russians a 2-1 shootout lead in the fifth round, but Oshie came back to tie it.
Kovalchuk made it 3-2 in the sixth, but Oshie beat Bobrovsky anew with a shot into the top right corner to tie it again.
“I aged a couple of years in that shootout,” United States coach Dan Bylsma said.
The Americans have a chance to clinch Group A and receive an automatic bye into the quarterfinals when they play Slovenia Sunday. The Slovenians earlier defeated Slovakia, 3-1, for their first-ever Olympic hockey victory.
The No. 1 seed in the quarterfinals is still up for grabs, but the U.S. no longer has control of it after losing one point because the game went to overtime.
Teams get three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime or shootout win, and one point for an overtime or shootout loss.
Russia still has a shot at clinching the top spot in Group A, but it needs to beat Slovakia Sunday and get some help from Slovenia. The U.S. leads the group with six points to Russia’s four.
International Ice Hockey Federation rules allow coaches to select a player to shoot multiple times if the shootout extends beyond the third round.
Bylsma said there was zero consideration among the coaches on the bench toward going with someone other than Oshie, who is 7-for-10 (70 percent) in the shootout this season and 25-for-46 (54.3 percent) with 12 game-deciding goals for his career.
Meanwhile, Daniel Alfredsson, Daniel Sedin and Erik Karlsson each had two points as Sweden completed a perfect trip through Group C play Saturday with a 5-3 win against Latvia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Also in Group C play, Switzerland knocked off Czech Republic, 1-0, to wrap up second place.
On women’s play, Switzerland defeated Russia, 2-0, to earn a spot in the semifinal against Canada Monday.
Sweden, for its part, earned a semifinal date against the United States after beating Finland, 4-2, in the quarterfinal.