T.J. Oshie

T.J. Oshie, shootout hero as U.S. men’s hockey beats Russia

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What a game.

Russia and the U.S. put on an Olympic game for the ages on Saturday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, engaging in a thrilling affair that ended with four — yes, fourT.J. Oshie shootout goals as the Americans beat the Russians 3-2.

With international hockey rules allowing teams to send out the same shooters multiple times, the U.S. chose Oshie to shoot six times in the eight-round affair (Joe Pavelski and James van Riemsdyk took the others) while the Russians sent out Ilya Kovalchuk four times (scored twice), Pavel Datsyuk three (scored twice) and Evgeni Malkin once.

VIDEO: Watch OT and the shootout again

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” American defenseman Ryan McDonagh told CBC’s Elliotte Friedman following the game.

The lead-up to the shootout was equally dramatic. The Americans and Russians engaged in a thrilling 65 minutes of action, with Datsyuk opening the scoring midway through the second period, only to have Cam Fowler — at 22, the youngest American on the ice — even it up with less than four minutes to go in the frame.

VIDEO: Watch Fowler’s goal

The teams then exchanged power play goals in the third period — Pavelski for the U.S., Datsyuk for Russia — before heading to overtime.

But going to the extra session wasn’t without drama of its own.

Russia looked to have taken a crucial lead late in the game when Fedor Tyutin‘s point shot got past Jonathan Quick with 4:40 left to play. But after review, the net was deemed to be off its pegs — by the slightest of margins — and the goal was disallowed, giving the Americans new life.

VIDEO: Watch the disallowed goal

The overtime session was thrilling, and the highlight came when Russia’s Sergei Bobrovsky, making his Olympic debut, stoned Patrick Kane on a clear-cut breakaway.

Datsyuk and defenseman Andrei Markov led all scorers with two points each, while the Americans continued the narrative of balanced attack with seven different players notching single points.

VIDEO: Watch Pavelski’s goal

In performances that fit the overall narrative, both goalies were outstanding — Quick stopped 29 of 31 shots while Bobrovsky stopped 31 of 33.

Phew.

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
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Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

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MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

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Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

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