USA slams Russia

By: Vincenzo Ferrara

The quick and strong Americans against hard and skilful Russians.Saturday saw the Olympic Ice Hockey match up of the games so far. The USA facing the Russians in cold war combat.

The setting of the event was the simple Sochi Ice Arena, the beautiful building seating 15000 lucky ticket-holding fans.

Both teams needing to win in order to be held as the top team in this round robin match up.

As the sound of the national anthems start to play, we see both teams lined up facing the flags of their home nations, a fitting tribute to what can only be described as the calm before the storm.

USA fan cheering on the winning team

USA fan cheering on the winning team

The game started at the drop of a puck with both teams roaring to go like a well-oiled machine.

The first period saw both teams hit hard, finishing their checks. The combination of speed from Team USA and the skill of the Red Machine saw great battle with a handful of shots taking place. At either end however, the goalies were ready for the bombardment that was striking them. This readiness from both teams caused the period to finish 0-0.

At the start of the second, both teams had come out to prove a point. If we thought we were seeing hard hits in the first, we were about to encounter a new surprise. The Americans came close to scoring in the early minutes. The counter attacking Russian Captain Pavel Datsyuk had one chance to break the relentless attacks from the US and one chance is all he needed, scoring the first goal of the game right in the heart of the second period.  As expected both teams started to play much harder after this wake up call, seeing both teams getting calls for crosschecking. Three minutes left in the second, saw Cam Fowler dangle his way to the Russian net, scoring with the style and poise we are used to seeing him score with in the NHL. The late goal surely giving Team USA a moral advantage as we went to the break.

Penalty Taker, Ilya Kovalchuk

Penalty Taker, Ilya Kovalchuk

The third period saw the troops playing just as physically as they had in the second. Nine minutes in, Joe Pavelski managed to bag a second goal for the Americans, bringing the score to 2-1.  Just minutes later, Team USA took a crucial penalty; Dustin Brown received two minutes for kneeing.  Twenty seconds into the penalty saw Captain Datsyuk lead by example blasting one home on the power play to end the penalty and tie the game up. As the game’s regulation time came to a close without a clear winner. The rules indicate that both teams receive one of the two points given for winning the game, but this frozen nightmare of the sport means that you cannot end a game this way. In Ice Hockey rules the came must be decided by first going to a four on four overtime, lasting only five minutes instead of the usual twenty. This idea is to allow more room for the most skilful players to score in the overtime slot. However when both teams were as locked at the horns as these, we saw the game go to penalty shots.

Penalty shots are the most exciting time in ice hockey, where the most skilled players take to the ice for one shot.

After the three shots each both teams were tied with a score of 1-1 in the penalties. Sudden death penalty shots followed.

Team USA saw T.J. Oshie taking all 5 of the sudden death shots after being the only goal scorer in the first three shots.

Russia saw a mix of Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk as both players are considered amongst the best few players in the world at penalty shots.

Team Russia feeling down after losing to USA after penalties

Team Russia feeling down after losing to USA after penalties

After a gigantic seven shots a piece, Kovalchuk skated down for the eight shot, however the cat-like reflexes of USA goalie Jonathan Quick stopped it.

T.J. Oshie took the puck, he dangled all the way down the ice, he was slow but his hands kept the puck moving and with a drop of the shoulder he made the Russian

goalie Bobrovski go left, as Oshie potted an easy goal for the Americans to win the battle.

With one week of the competition to go, we will see who can win the war.

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