CALGARY, FEB. 19 -- The United States kept its hopes of reaching the medal round alive in the Olympic hockey tournament tonight by defeating winless Norway, 6-3, at the Saddledome.
If the U.S. (2-2) defeats West Germany by at least two goals Sunday at 8:15 p.m. (EST), the Americans are guaranteed of advancing to the medal round. But because it would enter medal play with no points, the United States would have only a slim chance of winning a bronze and almost no chance of winning the gold. Teams carry over points gained in games against other teams that advanced to the medal round.
After a slow start tonight, the Americans coasted to a relatively easy win over Norway (0-4). Lane MacDonald and Corey Millen each scored two goals to lead the United States.
The team's fate in this hockey tournament will be decided Sunday. If the Soviet Union defeats Czechoslovakia, the United States must defeat West Germany by at least two goals to advance to the medal round. If the Czechs upset the Soviets or tie them, the United States simply must beat West Germany. If the United States loses or ties, it will not qualify for the medal round.
The Olympic rules for breaking ties between teams are the reason for the different scenarios. If the Czechs lose to the Soviets, they will have a 3-2 record, as will West Germany and the United States if the the Americans win Sunday. The tie breaker among three teams who have split games among themselves is goal differential in games played against one another. The United States has a minus-two goal differential and West Germany and Czechoslovakia each are at plus-one.
If the Czechs beat the Soviets, they will have a 4-1 record and climb out of a prospective tie with the United States and West Germany. (If they tie, they also will be ahead of the other two teams.) Then, if the United States wins, both it and West Germany will be 3-2 and the Americans will win on the first tie breaker between two teams: the game between them.
MacDonald scored his fourth goal of the Olympics to put the United States ahead, 1-0, with 2:47 left in the first period. MacDonald put a rebound off a Steve Leach shot past Norway goaltender Tommy Skaarberg, who was playing in place of starter Vernon Mott. Mott left the game with 6:53 left in the period after being hit by a shot in the groin, but returned in the second period.
The goal was the lone highlight for the Americans in the opening period. The United States looked nothing like the hard-charging team that lost to Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union by 7-5 scores its last two games. The chances were there in the first period, but the shots were not. Many U.S. passes bounced off sticks or never hit the mark. It was the team's most lackluster period of the Olympics.
Just 24 seconds into the second period, Norwegian forward Petter Thoresen picked up a loose puck and slapped it between goaltender Mike Richter's legs to tie the game, 1-1. U.S. captain Brian Leetch lost control of a Norwegian clearing pass at the blue line, allowing it to get away and go down the ice to Thoresen.
The United States would have been behind, 2-1, three minutes later were it not for an apparent missed call by referee Heribert Vogt. After Richter saved a shot by Geir Hoff in front, Todd Okerlund and Norway's Erik Kristiansen came charging into the crease. The puck appeared to go into the net off Okerlund's skate before the net was dislodged by the onrushing players, but Vogt disallowed the goal.
With the game still tied, the United States scored its second goal with 8:49 gone in the period. Tony Granato was being wrestled to the ice when a rebound of a Leetch shot came his way. He tipped it in before falling, putting the United States ahead -- but only for a couple minutes.
Arne Billkvam took a pass from Thoresen and flicked the puck off the goaltender's left shoulder with 10:41 gone in the period to tie the game.
Then, in one minute 22 seconds, the Americans scored twice to move ahead, 4-2. MacDonald scored his second goal of the game on a rebound off Greg Brown's shot from the blue line with 4:58 left, and Craig Janney redirected a Scott Young slapshot from the point with 3:36 remaining.
Millen added the Americans' fifth goal just 23 seconds into the third period when he scored after taking a pass from Granato.
But the Norwegians scored their third goal with 5:03 gone in the period when Rune Gulliksen skated between Brown and Jeff Norton and backhanded the puck between Richter's pads.
Millen scored the final U.S. goal at 14:42.
U.S.S.R. 6, West Germany 3:
Sergei Svetlov scored two goals to pace the Soviet Union to a victory in a showdown between unbeaten teams.
Igor Larionov and Sergei Makarov each added two assists for the Soviets, 4-0 and alone in first place in Pool B. Peter Schiller, Georg Franz and Dieter Hegen scored for West Germany (3-1).
The Soviets hold a 63-0-1 record against the West Germans.
Viacheslav Fetisov, who entered the game tied with seven others for the scoring lead with eight points, gave the Soviet Union a 1-0 lead 4:52 into the opening period. The New Jersey Devils' draft choice cruised down the slot, took a feed from the bottom of the right circle from Larianov and beat goaltender Josef Schlickenreider from close range.
Sergei Svetlov made it 2-0 only 58 seconds later, splitting the defense and knocking the puck past Schlickenreider while falling. Schiller cut the gap to 2-1 at 12:27. Helmut Steiger's passout was kicked to an open spot, and Schiller slapped the loose puck from 15 feet past goaltender Sergei Mylnikov.
Igor Kravchuk restored the Soviets' two-goal lead at 8:10 of the second period, on a power play. Larionov gathered the rebound of his own shot and fed Kravchuk, who scored from the slot from 20 feet.
Franz drove a 35-footer past Mylnikov on a power play at 10:02 to again draw West Germany within a goal, but Ilia Bjaken scored only 14 seconds later on a breakaway to deflate the West Germans.
Svetlov and Alexandre Tchernykh added third-period goals to seal the victory.
Czechoslovakia 4, Austria 0:
The 1984 silver medalist clinched a spot in the medal round by shutting out winless Austria.
The Czechoslovaks (3-1) took the lead on Miroslav Horava's first goal of the Olympics, which came on the game's first shot at 1:44.
Jaromir Sindel, the second leading goalie at the 1984 Winter Games behind Vladislav Tretiak of the Soviet gold medalists, kept the Czechs ahead with some brilliant saves against the aggressive Austrians (0-4).