Sochi Winter Olympics: Day 8 Results
(CNN) — It wasn’t exactly the Miracle on Ice but the U.S. pulled off a minor upset when it controversially beat Russia 3-2 in a nail-biting penalty shootout that highlighted Day Eight at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Thirty-four years ago Herb Brook’s men stunned the mighty Soviet Union in Lake Placid, New York to take gold in the ice hockey competition, one of the biggest shocks in a team event in Olympic history.
Saturday’s group game marked the first time the U.S. contested an Olympic hockey game in Russia since that memorable occasion and none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the stands to witness proceedings in his hockey-mad nation.
Russians and other Eastern Europeans have long since made their mark in the NHL and the Cold War is over but it was a match neither team wanted to lose.
T.J. Oshie emerged as the hero for the U.S., outshining Russian captain Pavel Datsyuk — who plies his trade for the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL. Oshie scored all four of the U.S.’s goals in the shootout that went to a whopping eight rounds.
“My hands are a little tingling, my feet are tingling,” Oshie told reporters. “It was pretty nerve-racking out there. We knew it would take 65 minutes and then some (to win).”
But the referees were in the spotlight, too, disallowing what would have been the winning goal for Russia with less than five minutes remaining in the third period after the net was knocked out of place.
Although Russia realistically isn’t in danger of failing to advance to the quarterfinals, it slipped behind the 2-0 U.S. in Group A.
Datsyuk opened the scoring midway in the second period, only for Cam Fowler to equalize late in the period.
The U.S. reclaimed the advantage when Joe Pavelski netted past Sergei Bobrovski but Russia tied proceedings through Datsyuk’s second past Jonathan Quick midway in the third.
Then, Fedor Tyutin thought he handed Russia a famous victory, though the referees didn’t allow his effort.
“I don’t know what happened there, but definitely it was a goal,” Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin told reporters. “Nobody touched the net. Their goalie touched the net and put it out.”
Quick, however, said he didn’t know the net was loose.
Bobrovski saved a breakaway to force the shootout, where Oshie registered the winner after Ilya Kovalchuk missed in the shootout.
“I did (feel pressure) a little bit, but then the puck hits your stick and you start skating,” said Oshie. “It’s just you and the goalie. I was fortunate enough to keep (Bobrovski) guessing and Quickie did his great job.”
Still no joy for U.S. in speed skating
The Netherlands won a medal in the men’s 1,500-meter speed skating event. The U.S. didn’t. In short, nothing new, then.
The gold medalist was a surprise, though, in the form of Zbigniew Brodka — who became Poland’s first speed skating Olympic champion.
The part-time fireman edged Dutchman Koen Verweij by three-thousandths of a second in a race so tight that initially Verweij was listed as the winner.
“When I saw I had won, it was an unbelievable feeling,” Brodka said.
Verweij was far from euphoric as he tallied the Netherlands’ 13th medal in speed skating — tying a Games record — in Sochi.
“I should be happy winning silver but this feels like a huge loss,” he said. “At the moment it feels like all my hard work and my consistent races were for nothing. After such a season you know you can do it, and I felt pretty good.”
American Shani Davis, who slumped in the 1,000 meters as the two-time defending champion, placed a distant 11th even after the U.S. team changed its Under Armour skin suits that were thought to be a contributing factor to its woes. It reverted to a previous version of the suits.
Poland landed another gold Saturday, with Kamil Stoch completing a personal double by adding the large hill title to his crown in the normal hill event. Stoch became the third man to pull off the sweep at the same Olympics.
More Austrian success in super-G
Austria won its third straight gold in the women’s super-g at the Olympics when Anna Fenninger upset the pre-race favorites on a tricky course.
Fenninger, last year’s Sportswoman of the Year in Austria, finished in one minute, 25.52 seconds to emulate the feats of Andrea Fischbacher in Vancouver four years ago and Michaela Dorfmeister in Turin in 2006.
Current overall leader Maria Hoefl-Riesch claimed silver — adding to her gold in the super combined — and Austria’s Nicole Hosp took the bronze. Hoefl-Riesch and Hosp were well behind Fenninger, more than half-a-second adrift.
Almost half of the starters didn’t complete the run.
“I’ve had races where I went through the finish line and I knew this was it — ‘This was a winner.’ But this was not one of them,” the 24-year-old Fenninger told reporters.
“I only realized what had happened when I stood on the top of the podium,” she added. “My feeling is indescribable. I just hope the realization will sink in the way I imagined it so I can properly enjoy myself by this evening.”
Elsewhere on Day Eight, adopted Russian Viktor Ahn — he formerly represented South Korea under the name Ahn Hyun-soo — bagged the home country’s first ever gold medal in short track speed skating in the 1,000 meters and Alexander Tretiakov added to the host’s haul of gold by bettering the field in the men’s skeleton.
However, there was also somber news for Russia, with freestyle skier Maria Komissarova fracturing her vertebrae and displacing her spine after a fall in training.
The 23-year-old immediately underwent surgery that lasted 6 1/2 hours, Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency said on its website.
“It was successful,” Mikhail Vezhba, a Russian Freestyle Federation spokesman, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.