'Furious' US hockey coach skips handshake with Russian coach

Pauline Gross
February 18, 2018

Switzerland fell to the Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) team 6-2 in the quarterfinals at Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on Saturday.

Slovenia was coming off a 3-2 overtime win against the United States, but was overmatched in this one. A bigger, stronger, and more experienced team of Russians - officially introduced as the Team of Olympic Athletes from Russia - dominated the USA in the final game of the preliminary round for both teams on Saturday.

This will be a rematch of the first Group B contest between the two in the preliminary round last Saturday, when Switzerland pounded the overmatched Korea 8-0.

With NHL talent absent for the first time since 1994 over money issues and injury fears, a young USA squad with four college stars and mostly Europe-based talent faced an all-star lineup from Russia's two best clubs, including five-time Olympians and ex-NHL stars Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk. "We were working toward this game for a long time and despite the games of the preliminary round, we were very angry".

"The first game (against Switzerland) was our first game in the Olympics".

The ice hockey team from Russian Federation began its journey at the 2018 Olympics with a 2-3 defeat to Slovakia on Wednesday but on Friday they recovered with a crushing 8-2 win over Slovenia.

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Image Zoom

"The two other goals were really good shots". For a while in the first period, there were even two large banners depicting the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin and messages of support for the Russian team. Left open on the rush as the US was slow to backcheck, Prokhorkin scored his second goal 2:14 into the second, using a Jonathan Blum screen on Zapolski to make it 2-0. She got a pass around the Swiss' defensive blue line and skated on her own breakaway through two defenders before beating Nadezhda Morozova with a backhand for her seventh goal and 10th point of the tournament. For the Russians, it was a rebound from a surprising 3-2 loss to Slovakia in the Olympic opener.

The U.S. must now play in the qualification round Tuesday, while Russians finished first in the group and move on directly to the quarterfinals, hoping their dominance puts T.J. Oshie's shootout performance in 2014 further in the rearview mirror. They sealed their spot in the medal round with three more goals in the third.

Finland 5, Norway 1: Eeli Tolvanen scored twice to set up a Group C showdown with Sweden on Sunday.

Two shove-filled melees exchanged near the Russian goal heated player emotions until they boiled over 91 seconds before the end of the second period.

Sergei Mozyakin got the Russians started with a laser shot off Pavel Datysuk's pass at 18:23 of the first period, and it took just 22 seconds for Ilya Kovalchuk to make it 2-0.

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