Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Russians, USA bounce back before Olympic hockey showdown

Russians, USA bounce back before Olympic hockey showdown

I have said it before, and will say it again.The worst thing you can do to a Russian team in worldwide play is make them a favorite.These Olympic Athletes from.Can I just say "Russian Team?"

"We're the same team as we were in the first game", said Ilya Kovalchuk, who finished with two goals and an assist.

Slovakia's Peter Ceresnak scored the game-winning goal with 11:30 remaining in a 3-2 victory over the favoured Russians by a team assembled days ago by a Canadian coach who can't even talk to all his players.

The team, officially competing as "Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation", scored twice on the power play after failing to do so in the opening game.

Since both teams won their second games, Saturday's matchup will likely decide which one finishes at the top of Group B. That means the victor will advance to the quarterfinals, while the loser will have to win a qualifying game to make the quarterfinals.

"Obviously tomorrow we're expecting a better game and more competitive".

OAR forward Mikhail Grigorenko said: "We know the United States is always going to play us tough". Now they have that confidence.

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"I grew up watching Datsyuk and Kovalchuk", he said.

Slovenia's Jan Mursak, a forward for Swedish side Frolunda, scored the equaliser with 97 seconds remaining in regulation time and netted the victor 38 seconds into over-time for a 3-2 comeback shocker over the Americans in group-stage play at Pyeongchang. The Russian win was the largest margin of victory in an Olympic men's hockey tournament since Canada beat Austria 6-0 in 2014.

Team USA jumped out to a 2-0 lead and dominated the first two periods. But Kaprizov scored two more in the third as the Russians pulled away.

But Blaz Gregorc lifted Slovenia within 2-1 with 14:11 remaining and Mursak's late heroics spoiled the Americans' hopes.

Zapolski allowed three goals on 25 shots, including the first goal by Jan Urbas. "There were a lot of guys in their first Olympics who were nervous", Kovalchuk said.

With a team composed primarily of its professional Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), Russia was the favorite to win the gold coming into the games and it looks like it may be living up to expectations with its whipping of Slovenia.

Police and security intervened and the banners were removed. "The Olympics is a huge event".

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