The Badgers in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are continuing to impress. The latest Badger to put their mark on the Winter Games is USA center Joe Pavelski.
Pavelski, 29, was a star while in Madison for two years, as he put up 101 points in 84 games. He also led the Badgers to their sixth national championship in 2006. He has had success in the NHL as well, putting up 390 points in just under eight years. Currently, Pavelski sits in third place in goals scored in the NHL this year with 29; he’s on pace for his best professional season to date.
But we’re here to talk about his international success on the world’s biggest stage; the Olympics.
Earlier today, the USA took on Russia in both team’s biggest matchup of the games thus far. The game turned out to be an instant classic. At the 9:27 mark of the third period Pavelski scored a nice PPG, giving the USA the 2-1 lead. Pavelski thought he “Putin” the game winner but Russia would tie the game three minutes later; sending the game to overtime. In OT, Patrick Kane had a beautiful chance to end the game on a breakaway but was stuffed by Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The game would be left up to a shootout.
Pavelski was selected as one of the three Americans to take shootout attempts. That’s an honor in itself. The former Badger didn’t convert his attempt but that was ok because a different American stepped-up for team USA.
The hero of the game was T.J. Oshie. In the Olympics, after the first three skaters take their shootout attempts any player can take the remaining attempts if necessary. Coach of the USA squad, Dan Bylsma, chose to give the rest of the attempts to Oshie. He would not disappoint. Oshie went 4-6 in the shootout, showing multiple moves, against the host-nation’s tough goalie and roaring crowd; including the game-winner. That’s the stuff of legend. What a win for the USA men’s hockey team.
“It was somewhat of a chess match – he kept him guessing,” Pavelski said of Oshie’s multiple attempts.
But there was also praise for Pavelski after the game by ESPN’s Barry Melrose saying, “Joe Pavelski is one of the great goal scorers in the NHL, he got a goal today…”
It was such a fun game to watch and was one of the more exciting games in Olympic history for the USA. It’s safe to say that there will be more moments to be enjoyed by former Badgers on the ice over the next week or so. Check back with us to hear the latest news about Wisconsin’s alumni currently competing in Russia. Remember, there are nine other former Badgers representing their countries at the 2014 Winter Games.
Can I get a USA, USA, USA!