Posted: Feb 14, 2014 7:46 AM
Updated: Feb 14, 2014 7:46 AM
SOCHI, Russia (AP) Goalie Jonathan Quick will make his second start of the Olympics when the U.S. men's hockey team faces host Russia on Saturday.
U.S. coach Dan Bylsma chose his goalie Friday after practice for the biggest game of the preliminary round in Sochi.
Quick made 22 saves in the Americans' 7-1 victory over Slovakia on Thursday, winning his Olympic debut. Bylsma chose him over Olympic veteran Ryan Miller to face the powerful Russian offense at Bolshoy Ice Dome.
"He played real well in Game 1," Bylsma said. "I thought there were periods of inactivity in that game and he had to stay sharp, stay focused, and it was followed by two or three big saves he had to make. I thought he played real well in the game, and again in the next game he will."
Bylsma credited his decision to Quick's work in the opener and his increasingly sharp play over the last month for the Los Angeles Kings. He didn't say whether Miller could get a start in the third game of the preliminary round against Slovenia on Sunday before the knockout portion of the tournament begins.
Quick reacted to the news with his usual understatement.
"I'm sure it's going to be loud, and a lot of emotion in the arena, so we're looking forward to it," Quick said. "This is the kind of game that you want to play, that you want to be a part of, so it's going to be fun."
Quick didn't get on the ice four years ago in Vancouver. Miller was named the MVP of the 2010 Olympic tournament, but he has been Quick's backup for the first two games in Sochi.
Miller is a proven Olympic performer in the midst of a strong season in Buffalo, but Quick is a Stanley Cup champion and a Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Although his aggressive goaltending style sometimes isn't ideal for the strange angles of the larger international ice, he's also known for a preternatural calm off the ice, which appealed to Bylsma.
"He's one of those guys who's all business," said Dustin Brown, his Los Angeles teammate. "He's not one of these goalies who gets really excited when he makes a big save, and I think that translates to him off the ice as well."