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US beats Russia 3-2 in Olympic hockey thriller

February 15, 2014

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A full 65 minutes of intense hockey weren’t enough to decide the latest chapter of Russia’s Olympic rivalry with the United States.

So the Americans put the game in the hands of T.J. Oshie, and their shootout specialist got it done in the eighth round for a 3-2 victory Saturday.

Oshie scored four times on his six attempts in the shootout, putting the winner between Sergei Bobrovsky’s legs to silence a raucous sellout crowd including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jonathan Quick turned away five Russian shots to secure his second win in Sochi, but he also got a fortunate break when an apparent goal by Russia’s Fedor Tyutin was waved off with 4:40 to play. Quick’s net had become unmoored before the goal, which means it doesn’t count under international hockey rules.

Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski scored in regulation for the Americans (2-0), who moved to the brink of automatic qualification for the quarterfinals. The Russians (1-0-1) are also in a strong position after getting two goals from captain Pavel Datsyuk and another in the shootout.

Although the game had little impact on next week’s medal race, the Bolshoy Ice Dome was packed to overflowing with fans of both nations jovially posing for photos and comparing their colorful sweaters. The Russians waved hundreds of flags, blew horns and banged drums from the first moments of warm-ups.

The other three games on Saturday were overshadowed by the main event at Bolshoy, but Sochi still hosted a momentous day of action.

Sweden won its group with a 5-3 victory over Latvia despite its numerous injury absences, while Jonas Hiller put Switzerland in a strong position for the elimination rounds with his second shutout in Sochi, 1-0 over the Czech Republic.

Slovenia also made hockey history with its first Olympic victory, stunning Slovakia 3-1.

Anze Kopitar, the only NHL player on the Slovene roster, scored the last of their three goals in the third period before celebrating with his father and coach Matjaz.

Update hourly