Published: Sun, February 18, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Russians Defeat US In Men's Olympic Hockey; OAR Women Win

Russians Defeat US In Men's Olympic Hockey; OAR Women Win

Meanwhile, the OAR women's team defeated Switzerland 6-2 on February 17 and will face Canada next in the semifinal match on February 19.

Russia's Bogdan Kiselevich, right, and the United States' Ryan Donato vie for the puck during Saturday's preliminary-round group B game at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in South Korea.

When: 8-10:10 ET (qualifying), 11:30 p.m. -1:30 a.m.

OAR completely dominated zone control throughout the game, and that's where Team USA needs to get better.

This night lacked the tense political subtext of the Cold War from their 1980 meeting and the pomp and circumstance of Russian President Vladimir Putin attending and the pressure on the home team in Sochi in 2014, but it had the same kind of in-arena atmosphere. Losing NHLrepresentation crippled Team USA, especially so late in the cycle, hearkening back to the Miracle on Ice days - but that was called a miracle for a reason. They're a really good team. "We've already played against them".

Entering the game, the Russians looked as if they had better players than the US, and that showed in each team's final preliminary-round game. Nikolai Prokhorkin scored the team's first two goals, and former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk scored the last two to give the Russians their second consecutive victory at Gangneung Hockey Centre. But it still finished in third place, because it's a teddy bear as well. They're almost 30 years old in average age, and they're fielding some of the United States' oldest Olympians across any discipline. Under normal circumstances, that would and should be our natural impulse if USA Hockey showed up at a major tournament with a team this poorly equipped to compete on the global stage. An elimination game, technically.

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With the loss, the United States now must play in the qualification round Tuesday. However, Team USA needs to think about the bigger picture too. That's not to say that the current team is somehow out of shape - it's just old.

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.

This team might not medal, but it's certainly giving a lot to think about moving forward. "They played a hard, physical game and they were the better team tonight".

Anna Shokhina opened the scoring for OAR at 7:22 in the first period, but then Switzerland scored just 48 seconds into the second period to tie the score, as Alina Muller picked up her seventh goal of the tournament.

The Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation move on the medal round semifinals.

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