Update: The US hockey team battled to a 3-2 shootout win over Russia at the Sochi Olympics on Saturday. The U.S. will complete preliminary-round play on Sunday against Slovenia, which on Saturday recorded its first-ever Olympic triumph with a 3-1 victory over Slovakia. Watch the highlight video HERE.
The men's ice hockey league in the Sochi Winter Olympics begins its preliminary rounds this week. The game between Team USA and Russia is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, February 15. Goalie Jonathan Quick will make his second start of the Olympics, he made 22 saves in the Americans' 7-1 victory over Slovakia on Thursday, winning his Olympic debut.
After falling short of the gold in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 and settling for the silver medal, Team USA hopes to take home the gold medal this year with their dominating offense and goalies. The primary offensive players looking to dominate and score on enemy lines are NHL players Phil Kessel, Patrick Kane, and Joe Pavelski who have a combined 87 NHL goals from the regular season.
On the other hand, Russia received a tough challenge from Slovenia before pulling away in the third period to a 5-2 win in the Olympic opener for both sides.
Team Russia has one obvious advantage over the other teams that can also be seen as an equal downfall: home field advantage. Count on the Russian team to have the most vocal support during the preliminary rounds that may or may not play into their opponents' heads.
The expectation to win will no doubt add pressure as Team Russia will have to leap from their sixth place finish in Vancouver to first place in their home country. The Canadian team is prime example of the advantage of having home field advantage, as last Winter Olympics they triumphed and won the gold medal in Vancouver in front of their native country.
Many still remember the United States hockey team upset the powerful Soviet Union en route to a gold medal in 1980, dubbed "The Miracle on Ice". The unlikely victory of a bunch of American college kids against the professionals of Soviet Union is considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of competitive sports.
Men's playoff qualifications begin February 18 with advancing teams competing for medals. The following schedule includes the full schedule for all teams and countries:
Czech Republic vs. Latvia (3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT)
Sweden vs. Switzerland (7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT)
Norway vs. Finland (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
Canada vs. Austria (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
Slovakia vs. Slovenia (3 am ET/12 a.m. PT)
United States vs. Russian Federation (7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT)
Sweden vs. Latvia (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
Switzerland vs. Czech Republic (12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
Austria vs. Norway (3 a.m. ET/12 a.m. PT)
Russian Federation vs. Slovakia (7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT)
Slovenia vs. United States (7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT)
Finland vs. Canada ( 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT)
NBC Sports Network and MSNBC will broadcast the ice hockey games on TV, you can view the complete TV listing HERE. For up-to-date results and statistics, visit the official website of the Sochi Winter Olympics.