Ice hockey rivals, USA and Russia, were back on the ice at the Bolshoy Ice Dome for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This wasn’t the first time the two teams faced off against each other since the famed 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” game. This time, however, Russia would have the home team advantage, with plenty of fans cheering them on, including President Putin. This game wasn’t for the gold medal either, yet both teams yearned for victory.
The regulation game was full of action, excitement and of course some controversy. USA’s top players, Fowler and Pavelski, scored one goal each, while Russia’s Datsyuk scored two goals, tying up the game. The controversy set in with just 4:40 left in the game, when a Russian goal was revoked because the USA’s goalie net was loose. The tied game headed for standard overtime. While plenty of action took place, neither team was able to get the puck in the goal.
This tie at the end of overtime led to an eight-round shootout. Both teams were required to send out three players to take rotating shots. USA’s Oshie started the initial shootout with a score in the first round. The next score wouldn’t come until Russia’s Kovalchuk shot one in the goal at the end of the third round. Both teams would now head into a round-by-round duel.
Unlike the NHL, the International Ice Hockey Federation rules allow players to shoot multiple times during the shootout if the score is tied after the first three rounds. In fact, coaches can send out any player they want to for each round. Russia would use this rule to alternate between its top players, Kovalchuk and Datsyuk, while USA would send out Oshie for each round.
No one scored during Round 4, but Datsyuk set things off in Round 5 with a clean shot. Oshie, however, would counter that point with a score of his own, just like he did in round 6, after Kovalchuk scored. Both Russian goalie Bobrovsky and American goalie Quick prevented any goals during Round 7.
Fans were on the edge of their seats as the shootout headed into Round 8. Russia’s Kovalchuk barely missed a goal, while USA’s Oshie stepped up his game and got one in the goal to lead the USA to victory.
Oshie contributed his success to years of practice, by stating “I’ve probably been practicing shootout since I was about 10-years old.” Just like Oshie, boys and girls across the country are learning valuable skills and teamwork in Junior League hockey teams. These skills taught at a young age could one day enable them to play in the Olympics too. Learn more about midget hockey and the value it can bring to your family today.
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