On Day 4 in Sochi, Zdeno Chara and Slovakia matched up against Slovenia. Slovenia upset ‘Big Z’ and company 3-1.
“We’ve been waiting to knock off a big hockey country and the Slovaks were world champs and finished fourth in Vancouver (Olympics), I believe,” said Anze Kopitar the only NHL player on the Slovenian team.
It was a 0-0 game heading into the third period. That’s where Slovenia took over. Roc Ticar, Captain Tomas Razingar and Kopitar netted the goals.
“If we weren’t on the hockey map before, we are now,” Kopitar said. “That’s a huge accomplishment for me and for every young player that decides to play hockey back home.”
In one of the best games of the tournament to date, the United States beat Russia in stunning shootout fashion as T.J. Oshie was the hero for the Americans.
It took more than three periods and an overtime to settle this match to beat the Russians. By rule in a shootout in the Olympics-after the first three rounds, the team’s can send out any shooter multiple times. T.J. Oshie was that man for the United States as Pavel Datsyuk and Illya Kovalchuk were the repeat offenders for the Russians.
Oshie scored on four of his six shots during the shootout while United States goalie Jonathan Quick stood his ground to give the US an eventual shootout win.
In regulation, Datsyuk scored both goals for Russia as Joe Pavelski and Cam Fowler scored for the Red White and Blue.
The “hero” of the night may have had the quote of the year after being interviewed after his team’s victory.
If you haven’t heard of T.J. Oshie by now, you should have because he put on as good of a show against the Russians as Matt Damon did versus Teddy KGB in Rounders.
David Krejci and the Czech Republic lost 1-0 to Switzerland.
Jonas Hiller turned away 26 shots in the victory while Simon Bodenmann ripped a one-timer past Ondrej Pavelec in the first period. That was all Switzerland needed.
“The expectations, they continue to grow in Switzerland,”Damien Brunner said after their 1-0 win. “We have young players and new goals. We go into games and don’t want to hide. We want to go and play right with those top teams.”
Sweden continued their winning ways as they took down Latvia 5-3. They may have won Group C, but it wasn’t as if they were dominant. Also, now they will be without Henrik Zetterberg.
“I think we have to step it up big time before the next game,” Center Patrik Berglund said. “We haven’t played well at all, I think. I think we struggled against Switzerland and we struggled even more today. They are really good teams, but we got to play better and we haven’t. We’ve been winning the games, but we haven’t played well.”
On Day 5, Austria took care of Norway 3-1 while Russia beat Zdeno Chara and the Slovaks 1-0 in a shootout.
The United States steamrolled Slovenia by a score of 5-1 highlighted by a hat-trick from Phil Kessel. Why can’t the Bruins get players like that?
The Hero from Saturday’s game joked about someone else having a big game so he wasn’t in the spot light. I think Phil Kessel took care of that.
“I was saying right before the game, I hope somebody does something pretty cool so that some of the focus gets off of me and onto someone else,” T.J. Oshie said. “Kessel didn’t need six shots in the shootout to do it. He did it in regular time.”
The Americans led 4-0 after two and never looked back. Ryan Miller got the start and turned away 17 of 18 shots in his first victory of the tournament.
The “favorites” of the tournament Canada snuck by Tuukka Rask and Finland 2-1 in overtime as Drew Doughty scored both goals for the Canadiens.
“My first game, I thought I struggled a little bit, especially in the first period, but ever since then, I’ve been comfortable,” Doughty said. “I’m ready to go. I’m used to the ice sheet. I’m used to playing with these guys. I’m just excited now. I forget about everything that’s going on around me and I’m just focused on my game and having fun.”
Rask turned away 25 of 27 shots for the Fins, but it wasn’t enough. Carey Price wasn’t tested much and stopped 14 of 15 shots.
Slovenia routed Austria 4-0 to make the Olympic quarterfinal round on Tuesday.
Ziga Jeglic assisted on the opening goal by Anze Kopitar and had this to say after the game on Tuesday.
“It is, for sure, the biggest thing we have ever done in the history of Slovenian hockey,” Jeglic said.
Kopitar is very grateful for his home country’s performance and he is very excited for the opportunity in the quarterfinals.
“If somebody would have told me we were going to reach the quarterfinals, I would have hoped obviously, but I wouldn’t really believe it,” Kopitar said. “But with the game that we have showed so far, I think we deserve it.”
Alexander Radulov and Russia also won 4-0. Radulov registered two goals in the victory.
Russia will now play Tuukka Rask and Finland in the quarterfinals round.
Illya Kovalchuk and Alexei Tereshchenko scored the other two goals in the victory.
Kovalchuk is looking ahead now to team Finland and knows they can’t take the game for granted.
“They’re a good team,” Kovalchuk said. “They’ve got a good goalie and we have to find a way to beat him if we want a chance to win. I think we play better and better with each game. Even with Slovakia I think we played well and created a lot of chances.”
In a stunning upset, Latvia took down Switzerland 3-1. Latvia will now take on Canada in the quarterfinals tomorrow.
David Krejci recorded a goal today in Czech Republic’s 5-3 win over Zdeno Chara and Slovakia. Krejci will now take on the United States in the quarterfinals Wednesday at noon.
The other games taking place tomorrow will be Loui Eriksson and Sweden versus Slovenia and Finland versus Russia.
It should be a very exciting slate of games on Wednesday and let’s hope for what we all wanted even though it may be in the semifinals round. United States and Canada with a chance to play for the Gold medal. That would be something, wouldn’t it?