SOCHI, Russia — Mike Eruzione needed only one shot to beat the Big Red Machine in Lake Placid in 1980.
T.J. Oshie required half a dozen of them in the shootout but the Blues sharpshooter scored on four as the US men’s hockey team beat the Russians 3-2 on their own ice in their Olympic group match on Saturday evening before a stunned crowd of 11,678 inside the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
It was the countries’ first meeting in Olympic play since 2006 when the Russians prevailed 5-4 in their group finale and it had all of the drama, if not quite the significance, of the original ‘Miracle on Ice’ as the Yanks prevailed after Patrick Kane was denied the winning goal in overtime.
After a scoreless opening period the home side struck first at 9:15 of the second when captain Pavel Datsyuk dashed past three blue jerseys and beat US goalie Jonathan Quick cleanly. But the Americans equalized at 16:34 on the power play as defenseman Cam Fowler knocked a rebound past goalie Sergei Bobrovski.
Then after Joe Pavelski put the US ahead 2-1 at 9:27 of the third period, Datsyuk struck again, this time on the power play, at 12:44. After a possible winning goal by Fyodor Tyutin was waved off, apparently for a high stick, the game went to overtime.
After Bobrovski stoned Kane and Quick denied Alexander Ovechkin, the Yanks’ put their trust in Oshie and Quick (29 saves). After Quick denied Datsyuk and Kovalchuk, then Datsyuk again, Kovalchuk missed the net. That gave Oshie, who’d just missed left, the winning chance and he beat Bobrovski through the five-hole for the victory on the eighth round of the shootout.
The Americans, who won their opener 7-1 over Slovakia, will play their final preliminary game against Slovenia on Sunday afternoon. The Slovenes won their first game in Olympic history on Saturday, beating the Slovaks 3-1.
The Russians, who dispatched Slovenia 5-2 in their opener, will face the Slovaks at the same time. The Slovaks defeated them in Vancouver in 2010.