SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- T.J. Oshie had four goals in a thrilling shootout Saturday, the last coming in the eighth round to give the United States a 3-2 Olympic victory over Russia.
The Americans survived a game that was worthy of a gold medal final, but with a lot of hockey left in the Olympics the triumph Saturday merely gave the United States a chance to win Group A.
That chance will come Sunday when the United States meets Slovenia.
Slovenia defeated Slovakia 3-1 earlier Saturday in the other Group A game. In Group C action later Sweden clinched a spot in the quarterfinals by outlasting Latvia 5-3 and Switzerland took second place in the group with a 1-0 decision over the Czech Republic.
Canada and Finland will determine the winner of Group B Sunday.
The U.S.-Russia contest lived up to its billing as the most-anticipated game of the group phase of the Olympics.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the audience and he celebrated when Russia opened the scoring on a goal by Pavel Datsyuk midway through the second period.
Cam Fowler answered for the Americans late in the middle period, Joe Pavelski gave the United States the lead with 10:33 to go in regulation and Datsyuk tied it with 7:16 to go.
The first overtime of these Olympics provided no scoring and it was then on to the shootout, which turned into a marathon.
In the NHL, a different player takes each shot. In international hockey, three different shooters take the ice for the first three rounds. If more than three rounds are required, any player may be sent out to shoot and it can be the same one time after time if that is what the coaches desire.
Oshie scored in the first round for the Americans and Ilya Kovalchuk kept the Russian hopes alive with a goal in the third round.
After that, Datsyuk and Kovalchuk took turns for the Russians and Oshie took all the shots for the United States.
Datsyuk scored in the fifth round, but Oshie matched him. Kovalchuk scored in the sixth round only to have Oshie tally again. After both sides missed in the seventh round, Kovalchuk was denied in the eighth by Jamie Quick.
That gave Oshie a chance to win the game and he did so by putting a shot between the pads of Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
The United States got a big break in the third period when a Russian goal was waived off because the net had become dislodged.
Sweden became the first team to wrap up a quarterfinal spot by going 3-0 in Group C. The Swedes were not able to breathe easy until Alexander Edler gave them a two-goal lead with 7:40 to play. Henrik Lundqvist, goaltender for the New York Rangers, gave up three scores on 23 shots.