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USA Downs Russia in Thrilling Shootout

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Team USA defeated Russia, 3-2, in a dramatic shootout Saturday in Sochi. Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin did not factor in the scoring during the game, which ended up being the T.J. Oshie show.

USA 3, Russia 2 (SO)

Team USA put its fate in the hands of St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie Saturday and it paid off. Oshie scored four times in an eight-round shootout, including the game-deciding goal, as the United States defeated Russia, 3-2, at the Bolshoi Ice Dome in Sochi.

"I think T.J. Oshie is going to be a household name after that display he put on,” Team USA forward David Backes told media following the game.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Team USA defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “I never realized he had all those moves for the shootout. He was pretty clutch.”

After 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of four-on-four overtime, the game headed to the shootout, where in international play any player can shoot after the first three players take their attempts. After Oshie and Russia’s Ilya Kovalchuk scored in the regulation round of the shootout, the skills competition went five more rounds and in each round the USA turned to Oshie, while the Russians alternated between Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. Datsyuk and Kovalchuk each scored once on USA goaltender Jonathan Quick and Oshie tallied three times on Russian netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, including a snap shot through the five-hole for the game-deciding goal in round eight.

"[I felt the pressure] a little bit", Oshie said. "I think once the puck hits your stick and you start skating down the ice, it’s just you and the goalie and you block everyone else out. I was fortunate enough to keep him guessing and Quickie slammed the door on them."

Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski scored power play goals in regulation for the USA, which can secure an automatic berth to the quarterfinals with a win over Slovenia on Sunday. Datsyuk scored twice for Russia, including the game-tying power play goal with 7:16 remaining.

Russia thought it had scored to take a 3-2 lead with 4:40 left in regulation, but a goal by defenseman Fedor Tyutin was disallowed because the net was slightly dislodged.

"I think Quick may have pushed the net off on purpose", Russian defenseman Slava Voynov, who is Quick’s teammate with the Los Angeles Kings, told "I know him and he sometimes does these things. But we shouldn't have let this decide the game. We need to score more."

Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin did not factor in the scoring in Saturday’s game. He played 10:51, had one shot on goal and an even rating. He again played on a line with Alexei Tereshenko and Alexander Popov.

Sweden 5, Latvia 3

Sweden won Group C and secured an automatic berth in the quarterfinals with a 5-3 victory over Latvia in Group C. Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson and Alex Edler had one goal and one assist each for Sweden, which overcame a 2-1 deficit in the game. Jonathan Ericsson and Patrik Berglund also scored for the Swedes, who received a 23-save effort from goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Switzerland 1, Czech Republic 0

Jonas Hiller stopped 26 shots for his second shutout of the tournament and Simon Bodemann’s scored the game’s only goal at 14:10 of the first period as Switzerland defeated Czech Republic, 1-0. Switzerland finished preliminary play in second place in Group C, and the Czechs finished third.

Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1

Slovenia won its first Olympic hockey game ever, defeating Slovakia, 3-1, in Group A play on Saturday. Anze Kopitar was among the goal scorers for Slovenia, which got a 27-save performance from goaltender Robert Kristan.

"It's an amazing feeling to beat Slovakia with the players they've got. It's [our] first time at the Olympics and now our first win,” said Kristan.


*Through two games at the tournament, Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin has one goal, four shots, an even rating and is averaging 10:40 per game.

*Still no word on who will start in goal for Finland against Canada on Sunday. Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen said whoever gets the nod for Finland will be in for a big challenge against the Canadians.

“They have four dangerous lines,” Lehtonen said. “Each one of them would be any NHL team's number one.”

*Canada has not announced whether Roberto Luongo or Carey Price will start Sunday’s game against Finland.

*Finland announced Saturday that forward Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers will be out for the remainder of the tournament with a lower body injury.

Saturday’s results

Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1
USA 3, Russia 2 (SO)
Switzerland 1, Czech Republic 0
Sweden 5, Latvia 3

Sunday’s games

Austria vs. Norway, 2:00 a.m., USA Network
Russia vs. Slovakia, 6:30 a.m., USA Network
Slovenia vs. United States, 6:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Finland vs. Canada, 11:00 a.m., USA Network

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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