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Olympic capsules: Sunday's Sochi action features big wins by Canada, U.S.

The Hockey News
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Ilya Kovalchuk Author: The Hockey News

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Olympic capsules: Sunday's Sochi action features big wins by Canada, U.S.

The Hockey News
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The men's Olympic hockey action that took place Sunday in Sochi included an overtime win by Canada, a shootout victory by Russia and a powerhouse victory by Team U.S.A.

Here is a recap of what went down Sunday on the men’s Olympic hockey scene at the Sochi Games:

CANADA 2, FINLAND 1 (OT)

Although Team Finland was without many of its key players Sunday, they put a scare into the heavily favored Canadians before falling 2-1 in an overtime win by Team Canada.

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scored both goals for the Canadians, beginning with a first-period power play marker and followed by his game-winner at 2:32 of overtime. But the rest of Team Canada was frustrated constantly by Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask, who stopped 25 of 27 shots. Carolina Hurricanes winger Tuomo Ruutu had the lone goal for Finland, which could muster only 15 shots on Canada’s Carey Price.

Shea Weber, Jeff Carter and captain Sidney Crosby each had an assist for Team Canada, which gets a break from the qualifying round and heads straight to the quarter-final Wednesday to play the winner of Switerland vs. Latvia. Team Finland also has a quarter-final berth and will face the winner of Russia-Norway.

RUSSIA 1, SLOVAKIA 0 (SO)

The Russian team played its second shootout in as many days, but on Sunday the end result was different as they beat Slovakia 1-0 on a shutout from Semyon Varlamov and a goal from Ilya Kovalchuk.

The Olympic hosts had fallen 3-2 to the Americans Saturday, but despite not scoring on 36 shots on Slovak goalie Jan Laco in regulation time and the five-minute overtime frame, Varlamov was equal to the task (making 27 saves) and held off both shooters he faced in the shootout. Meanwhile, the Russians got shootout goals from Alexander Radulov and Kovalchuk, who left the game late in the second period with an apparent knee injury, only to return for the third.

The game was a defensive affair for the most part, although Russia turned up the heat in the third period and outshot the Slovakians 15-2. Both teams are headed for the qualifying round of the medal portion of the tournament: Russia will play Norway, and the winless Slovaks will take on the Czech Republic.

U.S.A. 5, SLOVENIA 1

Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel continued his torrid play at the Olympics, scoring two of his three goals Sunday in the first five minutes of Team U.S.A.’s 5-1 manhandling of Slovenia. Kessel made it a hat trick midway through the second period, becoming the first American to score three goals in a game since John LeClair posted one against Finland at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. U.S. Goalie Ryan Miller made 17 saves in his first appearance in Sochi and only a goal from Marcel Rodman with 17.6 seconds left in regulation prevented him from recording a shutout.

The unbeaten Americans advance to the tournament quarter-finals and face the winner of the Czech Republic-Slovakia qualifying round game. Slovenia, which was without their best player Anze Kopitar for the third period due to flu-like conditions, will take on Austria in the qualifying round.

AUSTRIA 3, NORWAY 1

Islanders forward Michael Grabner supplied much of the offense to lead Austria to a 3-1 victory over Norway – the nation’s first Olympic victory in 12 years.

Grabner scored twice and added an assist in the win for the Austrians, who finish the preliminary portion of the Olympic tournament with a 1-2 record. Goaltender Mathias Lange stopped 34 shots for Austria, who will face the Slovenians in a qualifying round game Tuesday. The 26-year-old Grabner, who is playing in his first Olympics, was entering the day coming off a hat trick in a losing effort against Finland.

Per-Age Skroder and goalie Lars Haugen made 24 saves for Norway, which will face the host Russians in the qualifying round. The Norwegians are still looking for their first win at the Olympics since 1994.

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Olympic capsules: Sunday's Sochi action features big wins by Canada, U.S.