Ilya Kovalchuk scored two backbreaking goals as the Russians outplayed, outhit and outclassed the United States in a convincing 4-0 shutout Saturday night as each team wrapped up pool play at the Olympics.
Alina Muller tied it up 48 seconds into the second period.
"I think it was a learning experience for us", Granato explained when asked if it was important to play a team of that caliber in the preliminary round.
The U.S. must now play in the qualification round Tuesday, while Russians finished first in the group and move on directly to the quarterfinals, hoping their dominance puts T.J. Oshie's shootout performance in 2014 further in the rear-view mirror.
A highsticking penalty sent Slovenia's Jurij Repe to the box and OAR had their first powerplay of the game.
The Swiss equalized with less than 10 seconds played in the second period after Alina Muller collected a Christine Meier pass and wove her way past three defenders before flicking a backhanded shot over Russian goaltender Nadezhda Alexandrova. Jordan Greenway, the first African American hockey player to represent the U.S.at the Winter Games, was penalized for goaltender interference. They're a really good team.
US goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed four goals on 26 shots, including Kovalchuk's goals less than 33 seconds apart at the end of the second period and start of the third.
If the Americans win, they will top the group with seven points and if they lose they could drop to third. "Its great, but we need to start looking forward to our next game vs. Slovakia". "But head coach Sarah Murray said they won't get blown away so easily this time".
USA players shook off the stunning 3-2 defeat so quickly it was a whiplash of emotions in just over 12 hours.
Canada and the United States are the only countries to ever win women's hockey gold at the Olympics.
The U.S. rarely generated the kind of quality scoring chances against Vasily Koshechkin that the Russians did around Zapolski, who played all three preliminary-round games. The tally was Kablukov's first of the tournament.
It all adds up to some pretty serious hockey DNA in the Donato family and Ryan heeded his father's words when he chose a low, hard wrist shot to score his first goal against Slovakia.
"It's always a battle, especially playing the U.S.", Agosta said.
GANGNEUNG, South Korea - The Americans and Canadians pushed, shoved and grabbed each other, sometimes from behind, sometimes mask to mask, and bodies were crashing to the ice repeatedly in front of the net.
"It's a big loss", alternate captain Noah Welch said.