The Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) scored a 4-0 victory over the U.S. men's ice hockey team at the Winter Olympics, sending the Russians to the top spot in their preliminary-round group.
Ilya Kovalchuk and Nikolai Prokhorkin each scored two goals to help the OAR team past the Americans on February 17 at the Gangneung Hockey Center amid shouts of “U-S-A" and the "ROSS-I-YA" from the fans.
The U.S. squad is competing without players from clubs in North America's National Hockey League (NHL), which announced in April that it would not schedule a break for the Olympics in the 2017-18 season.
The OAR squad consists mainly of players from the Moscow-based Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
The top four teams -- first-place teams in each group and the best second-placed teams – will advance to the quarterfinals starting on February 21.
The U.S. team will participate in a qualification playoff on February 20.
Meanwhile, the OAR women’s team defeated Switzerland 6-2 on February 17 and will face Canada next in the semifinal match on February 19.
Russian athletes are participating under the Olympic Athletes from Russia designation, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from competing as a team at the Winter Olympics.
The IOC cited what it said investigations showed was a longstanding state-sponsored doping program and "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the Olympic anti-doping system at Winter Olympics that Russia hosted in Sochi in 2014.
The IOC subsequently invited 169 carefully screened Russian athletes to compete as independents in Pyeongchang.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and TASS