2014 Sochi Olympics: USA Men's Hockey Benefits From A Couple Of Unique Rules

By Greg Higgins

The game itself was hyped up for many different reasons. Team USA and Team Russia are both medal contenders in men’s hockey this year in the Sochi Olympics, so as they faced each other, the stakes seemed higher than normal. Even though it’s just a preliminary-round game, the teams played as if they were facing each other in a gold medal game.

Team Russia had the home crowd behind them chanting throughout the game, while Team USA kept playing their style of hockey. With the game tied at 2 though, Team USA found themselves in a weird position. Team Russia scored an apparent go-ahead goal by Fedor Tyutin.

After review, however, it was disallowed by the referees. Unlike in the NHL, the refs weren’t wearing microphones, so no explanation was given to the crowd or the television audience. Thanks to some great camera work by the NBC crew though, you could see on a replay that the net behind Jonathan Quick had become dislodged slightly.

In the NHL, this would have been okay, but in international play, it is not. Therefore, the goal was disallowed and the game continued with a 2-2 tie. Fast forward to the shootout and Team USA was able to take advantage of another international rule.

In the NHL, you are not allowed to use the same player in a shootout until all the players on the team have gone. This isn’t the case in international play. The first three shooters must be different, but then you can use the same shooter for as long as you want.

Team USA decided to ride the back of youngster T.J. Oshie during the shootout. Oshie scored the only goal during the first three attempts for the U.S. With the score knotted at 1-1 after three shooters, Oshie shot the next five shots for Team USA and he connected on three of them, including the game winner. Team Russia went with a combination of Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk during the shootout, but they couldn’t match the scoring of Oshie.

Greg Higgins is an Olympic writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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