There's still plenty at stake this time with the USA looking to win its first Olympic gold medal since the "Miracle On Ice" in 1980. A Russian team headlined by Kovalchuk and a slightly-past-his-prime Pavel Datsyuk is going to be better than the collection of college kids and Americans who are a step below the National Hockey League level pretty much every time. We did a lot of good things the first three games but we just haven't found a way to score enough goals.
Gangneung: The United States and Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation rebounded from upset losses with men's hockey triumphs Friday at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, adding to the tension of their Saturday showdown.
As close as the shots on goal were, the US rarely generated the quality scoring chances against Vasily Koshechkin that the Russians did around Zapolski, who played all three preliminary-round games. "Its great, but we need to start looking forward to our next game vs. Slovakia". "The United States is always the United States, so it's going to be tough", former Buffalo Sabres forward Mikhail Grigorenko said. With the score again tied, he tallied the eventual game-winner when he finished a spinning backhanded shot from the top of the crease. Now they have that confidence.
Slovenia was coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the United States, but was overmatched in this one.
Canada's path to the quarterfinals at the Olympic men's hockey tournament hit a bump - but the Canadians are still all but assured an automatic berth as they wrap up Group A action Sunday against host South Korea.
Russians Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and Slava Voynov and USA coach Tony Granato are the only people back from that game, which had higher stakes because of the National Hockey League talent. The Americans surrendered two goals in the game's final 15 minutes before giving up the victor just 38 seconds into overtime. Petra Nieminen, Valila and Susanna Tapani each scored a goal in the first period as Finland outshot Sweden 11-3 and chased goalie Sarah Grahn after the first 20 minutes.
Kaprizov completed his hat trick with two more goals in the third to further secure the win for OAR.
Could the defense hold strong in game 2?
Things tilted even further when Sergei Andronov held the puck away from USA defender Bobby Sanguinetti and passed it to Kovalchuk, whose shot went under Zapolski's arm and in with just 0.2 seconds left in the second. Luka Gracnar allowed eight goals off 34 shots in Slovenia's goal.
Late past year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended the membership of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) over doping abuse allegations but allowed clean Russian athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Games under the Olympic flag and in the neutral status of an Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR). The U.S. spent the rest of the second period unable to convert on a delayed-penalty chance and a couple of power plays.
Police and security intervened and the banners were removed.