No ‘Miracle on Ice’ needed as United States edge Russia at Sochi

Meanwhile, Ahn delights home fans with another medal while Zhou brings home China’s third gold.

TJ Oshie, right, celebrates scoring the game-winning shoot-out goal for the United States against Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovski during their men’s ice hockey game on Saturday. Grigory Dukor / Reuters
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ROSA KHUTOR, Russia // There was no Russian revenge in the “Miracle on Ice” rematch on Saturday as the United States triumphed 3-2 in a sudden-death shoot-out after the teams finished level at 2-2 after overtime in a thrilling men’s ice hockey preliminary-round game.

With Russian president Vladimir Putin among the capacity crowd at the Bolshoy Ice Dome, TJ Oshie scored in the eighth round of the shoot-out to end an electric heavyweight clash that evoked memories of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics match, when a group of US college players upset the former Soviet Union’s “Big Red Machine”.

Pavel Datsyuk, one of two players on the Russian team alive when the Soviets lost 34 years ago, scored twice in regulation for Russia. The United States got power play goals from Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski.

Elsewhere, four years after creating a stir back home for thanking her parents rather than the Chinese government for her gold medal in Vancouver, Zhou Yang let her blades do the talking.

Zhou, 22, survived a false start in the short track final and avoided a three-skater pile-up in mid-race to retain her 1,500 metres title.

Zhou slid into the arms of her entourage before going on a victory lap holding aloft a Chinese flag.

“I was nervous at the beginning, but after I finished [first] I felt so thrilled,” Zhou said. “I’ve been through a lot during the past four years. I didn’t expect I could come back to the Olympic Games. I just wanted to do my best during training and competition.”

She created an uproar in 2010 when she told a Chinese TV station she hoped her win would “help my parents have a better life”.

Zhou went on to thank her coach and teammates, but her failure to express her gratitude to the state-run sports system made some people question her loyalty.

Age 18 at the time, the episode could be blamed on her naivety. When she apologised, it made front-page headlines. Now, however, the older and wiser Zhou will keep her fingers crossed that her achievements on the ice are what create a buzz back home.

In the men’s 1,000m, Victor Ahn gave his adopted homeland victory, winning his fourth Olympic gold in short track. Ahn, 28, won three golds for his native South Korea at the 2006 Turin Olympics before switching to Russia.

Ahn’s gold followed a bronze in the 1,500m earlier in the Games.

Fellow Russian Vladimir Grigorev won silver while Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands finished in third place.

Canada’s Charles Hamelin, who won the 1,500m, fell down in the quarter-finals while South Korea’s 2013 world champion Sin Da-woon was disqualified from the final.

“My right blade slipped a bit around the corner. I was about to do a pass and the ice just broke under my blades,” Hamelin said.