U.S. men’s ice hockey defeats Russia in shootout, millions of Americans celebrate

By MARK ROSSMAN
Sports Editor

The Olympics are already over a week in, and only five days remain. The United States has held its own, unsurprisingly, with a total of 16 medals so far: four gold, four silver, and eight bronze.

The XXII Olympic Winter Games have proven to be special. Firstly, the Games mark the first Olympics to be held in Russia since the U.S.S.R. disbanded in 1991. Secondly, this marks the most expensive Games in history, estimated to have cost a total of $51 billion in preparations. Most importantly, this Winter Olympic Games are special because of the competition, namely, America’s men’s ice hockey showdown against Russia, which took place Saturday morning.

Hands down one of America’s most significant moments thus far in the Games took place in Bolshoy Ice Dome early Saturday morning. Millions of Americans — even college students —set their alarms early in the morning to watch the U.S. hockey team take on Olympic host, Russia, and — luckily for them — they were justly rewarded with quite the show.

The teams were all tied up 2-2 after standard 60-minute regulation time with one minor hiccup. Russia scored what would have been her game winning goal, but referees deemed it illegal because, before the shot went in, the “net had been moved off its moorings.” While Russians may still roll their eyes at the call, this was good news for America.

Then it was overtime. Over- time proved to be relatively uneventful and ultimately ended with neither team coming out with a goal, which lead to the shootout.

T.J. Oshie, American native and forward of the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, stepped up to the goal and scored 4-for-6 on Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who is also the goalie for the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets.

Americans will agree Oshie will be identified as the hero of this game and many would say hero of the week.

Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston. com said, “T.J. Oshie became a household name Saturday.”

Oshie is known to rise to the occa- sion come shootout time.

Scott Gordon, head coach of the U.S. team and assistant coach of the U.S. team and assistant coach of the Toronto Maple Leaves, told ESPN, “I knew he was our best going into the tourney and I would go back to him if the opportunity presented itself. After the second or third shot I told him to go again and he looked at me like, ‘Really?’ At one point I told him to go back with his best move, little did I know he had six or seven of them.”

Oshie remains very humble, despite all the coverage and praise he was given this weekend.

Almost immediately after the win, Oshie told CNN, “My hands are a little tingling, my feet are tingling. It was pretty nerve-wracking out there.”

United States goalie, Jonathan Quick, also cannot be left out for crediting the America win, as he was part of America’s front in the shootout, this time on the defensive side.

Many compare this moment to America’s “Miracle” win over Russia in the Games in 1980, set in Lake Placid, NY — the only difference is this wasn’t fighting for the gold, this was merely a fight for placement. Not to belittle America’s accomplishment this weekend, but this makes quite the difference.

“It was going to be hard to have a game that would live up to the hype surrounding USA versus Russia,” said Maxwell Polans ’14. “But after three hours of nail biting action, and eight rounds of skills competition that followed, it is hard not to say that it did not in fact meet and surpass any and all expectations that could have been set beforehand. The level of excitement rivaled any game I’ve ever watched, and to have it be on a worldwide stage in Sochi made it all the more thrilling.”

The atmosphere in the arena, as well as in homes across the country, was electric.

“It was the one of the most exciting U.S. sporting events I have ever seen,” said Sam Rubin ’14. “I watched the game with about 30 of my fraternity brothers who were all standing and chanting Oshie as T.J. Oshie went in for the winning shootout goal. After it went in, everyone started jumping and screaming, ‘USA, USA.’ It was a great time,” Rubin said.

NHL.com reports similar find- ings in the arena.

“It was loud, crazy, a circus-like environment,” NHL.com report- ed. “It was the Olympics at their finest.”

The win does not entirely eliminate Russia however from reaching the quarterfinals of the Games and ultimately taking home the gold. As the host country, Russia

still hopes to come out with the big W.

Speaking with CNN, Ilya Kovalchuk said, “Now we will be getting ready for the future.”

As for the United States, we already have three big wins under our belt: Slovakia 7-1 on Thursday, Russia 3-2 on Saturday, and Slovenia 5-1 on Sunday. We are not out of the group stage and now comes our time to medal.

The game Saturday gave the United States ice hockey team a newfound drive going into the rest of the games coming this week. The team has real potential to medal, particularly after the performance the team put on Saturday morning.

Waking up Saturday morning was certainly worth it.

“I know I’m looking forward to a rematch against Canada to avenge the loss in the gold med- al game from four games ago in Vancouver, Polans said. “But even if they don’t win the gold, winning the game against Russia will be a moment I’ll never forget.”

Senior Mark Rossman is the Sports Editor. His email is mrossman@ fandm.edu.

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