Winter Olympics: US takes down Russia in hockey thriller


SOCHI, Russia — 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.

Roundup

After shedding their new, high-tech skinsuits for their old-fashioned gear, American speedskaters still were without a medal at the Sochi Olympics.

Zbigniew Brodka won Poland’s first gold medal in the men’s 1,500 meters, finishing 0.003 seconds ahead of Koen Verweij of the Netherlands. It was one of the closest 1,500 finishes in Olympic history.

Verweij’s silver medal gave the Dutch 13 of the 21 medals awarded so far in the sport, including four golds. Traditionally, the U.S. team has been among the medal leaders halfway through the competition.

Hoping to end the shutout, the U.S. had gotten IOC approval just hours before the 1,500 started to go back to its old suits. The new ones had been touted as the fastest the world has ever seen.

Norway’s women cross-country skiers were another group whose past success failed to carry over into the games. The Norwegian women had not lost a 4x5-kilometer relay since 2009 and entered Saturday’s race as huge favorites, with a team that featured the top four skiers in the overall World Cup standings. By the time it was over, Sweden had the gold, and Norway was denied a spot on the podium, finishing 53.6 seconds behind the winners.

Medals also were being awarded in four other sports: Alpine skiing, ski jumping, skeleton and short track speedskating.

Speedskating: Brodka and Verweij were initially shown on the scoreboard to be tied for the top spot, but when the time was broken down to the thousandths, the victory went to Brodka in 1 minute, 45.006 seconds. Verweij was second in 1:45.009. The bronze went to Canada’s Denny Morrison, his second medal of the Sochi Games.

Alpine skiing: Anna Fenninger became the third straight Austrian woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic super-G. Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany won the silver and Nicole Hosp of Austria the bronze. Skiers from Austria have dominated the event since it began at the 1988 Calgary Games. Austrian skiers have now won eight of a possible 24 medals in the super-G.

Cross-country: Charlotte Kalla erased a 25-second deficit on the final leg to give Sweden the gold in the relay. Finland finished second to win silver, and Germany took bronze. Norway was well behind in fifth.

Short track speedskating: Zhou Yang of China won her second consecutive gold medal in the women’s 1,500 meters — a race that included a three-skater crash involving 500-meter gold medalist Li Jianrou of China. Victor An of Russia won gold in the men’s 1,000, with teammate Vladimir Grigorev taking the silver. It was An’s second medal of the Sochi Olympics.

Skeleton: Alexander Tretiakov won gold in men’s skeleton. Known as the “Russian Rocket,” Tretiakov finished well ahead of Latvia’s Martins Dukurs after hurtling down a track he’s trained on more than anyone else. Matt Antoine of the United States won bronze, the first skeleton medal for the U.S. since Jimmy Shea won gold in 2002.

Ski jumping: Polish ski jumper Kamil Stoch completed a gold medal sweep of the normal and large hills. Noriaki Kasai of Japan won the silver on the large hill and Peter Prevc of Slovenia took bronze. Stoch joins Simon Ammann and Matti Nykanen as the only men to win both individual events at the same Winter Games.

By wire sources