Joe Pavelski scored his first Olympic goal on Saturday, which gave Team USA a 2-1 lead midway through the third period in its match against Russia in the preliminary round of men’s hockey in the Winter Olympics, but his contributions will be forever overshadowed by T.J. Oshie’s four shootout goals to win the game.
It is Oshie who has already been labeled as an American hero — although he refused to be called as such — as the Blues’ forward faced Russia goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky six times in the shootout, since Olympic rules allow for teams to repeat shooters after the third round. Oshie was clutch, saving the game for the United States twice, then winning it in the eighth round of the shootout.
While Oshie definitely deserves all the accolades, Pavelski has his name etched in one of the most epic games in recent memory for Team USA. With the game tied 1-1 in the third and USA on the power play, Pavelski received a cross-ice feed from Patrick Kane and banged it past Bobrovsky for a crucial goal.
Pavel Datsyuk would tie the game at 2-2 later in the third, and then there was some controversy over a Russian goal scored but then disallowed because the net was dislodged. The two teams went into overtime, and neither scored during the two-minute extra session, leading to the epic shootout.
Pavelski was actually one of the shooters for Team USA, but was stopped by Bobrovsky. However, Oshie was there to pick up the slack, and then some.
“He’s got enough moves,” Pavelski said of Oshie, via Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News. “I guess he doesn’t need nerves. He was great.”
What’s on Tap
Team USA takes on Slovenia at 4:30 AM PST on Sunday in its final preliminary match. USA currently leads Group A with five points.