Sochi Olympics: USA Men's Hockey Poised To Make Run At Medal After Winning Group A

By Greg Higgins
David Backes
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The preliminary round is over for Team USA and they are exactly where they wanted to be when the tournament started. Coming into the Olympic games, Team USA knew Russia would be their hardest preliminary game, and it proved to be the case. Team USA needed a shootout in order to defeat the Russian team on Saturday.

Saturday was a much different story though, as they easily took care of Team Slovenia 5-1. Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs provided the offensive spark for Team USA, as he scored three of the five goals. San Jose SharksJoe Pavelski assisted on all three of Kessel’s goals.

With the win, Team USA clinched first place in Group A play. By clinching Group A, they have been guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals and will play on Wednesday. The opponent and time is still yet to be determined.

After Jonathan Quick started in goal the first two games, Ryan Miller got the nod against Slovania. Miller, who led Team USA four years ago as they won the silver medal, probably got the start because of the back-to-back situation. Quick will probably still be the guy, despite how good Miller was in goal.

Miller had a shutout that was broken up with just 18 seconds left when Marcel Rodman put one past the Buffalo Sabres‘ netminder. Team USA now has a chance to regroup, with a couple of days off before the next game. The competition promises to be stiffer as they move forward, with the prospects of Team Finland and Team Canada coming up on the schedule. Either way, this team looks poised to make another run at a medal.

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

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