Day 4 was an eventful one in the Olympic Men’s hockey tournament. Not only was the biggest game of the first round contested, but there were a couple of games that ended in what would have to be considered upsets. Here is today’s Olympic Hockey Recap:
USA 3, RUSSIA 2 (SO)
The US took a big step toward ensuring a spot in the quarterfinals with a dramatic 3-2 shootout victory over the host Russians. In a wildly entertaining game followed by an equally intense 8 round shootout, the Americans put themselves in the driver’s seat for advancing directly to the quarterfinals.
Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring near the midway point of the second period, and after Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski had put the US ahead by one he scored again to tie it up with just over 7 minutes remaining. Russia thought it had taken the lead with less than 5 minutes left, but it was ruled the net was out of place behind Jonathan Quick before Fedor Tyutin‘s point shot got past him, so the US had another life. Overtime couldn’t break the tie, and after the first three shooters it was still tied at 1-1. Then TJ Oshie went head to head with Ilya Kovalchuk and Datsyuk in a shootout for the ages. Oshie, who has scored in the first round, went on to score 3 more times in 5 rounds, while being matched by Dastyuk and Kovalchuk shot for shot before Quick finally stopped Kovalchuk allowing Oshie to win it in the 8th round.
SLOVENIA 3, SLOVAKIA 1
Slovenia pulled the first major upset of the tournament by beating Slovakia 3-1 for their first ever Olympic hockey win. They moved to 1-1 while the Slovaks fell to 0-2 ahead of Sunday’s matchups that will close out the preliminary round. All of the scoring came in the third period, as Roc Ticar broke the scoreless deadlock three and a half minutes into the third, and that was followed up by two quick goals from Tomas Razinger and Anze Kopitar. Tomas Jurco broke Robert Kristan’s shutout attempt with just 18 seconds left in the game, after the result was all but completed.
SWEDEN 5, LATVIA 3
The Swedes capped off a perfect record in the preliminary round, but again were not as dominant as you would expect in defeating Latvia. Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson and Alexander Edler each had a goal and an assist to pace Sweden, who actually trailed 2-1 early in the second before Karlsson tied it up and then Alfredsson put them ahead for good. Jimmie Eriksson made it 4-2 before Zemgus Girgensons brought Latvia back within one. Edler sealed the deal as Kristers Gudlevskis played the entire game in the Latvian net, giving Edgars Masalskis a much needed day off ahead of the qualifying games Tuesday.
SWITZERLAND 1, CZECH REPUBLIC 0
Switzerland proved that they will not be an easy out for any team as they played their third straight 1-0 game. Jonas Hiller recorded his second shutout of the tournament and has yet to allow a single goal, while the team has given up just one. Hiller made 26 saves, one better than Ondrej Pavelec in the Czech net. Simon Bodenmann scored the only goal for the Swiss before the 15 minute mark of the first period and in the usual Swiss style they held on for the win.