Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The U.S. Men’s Olympic hockey team, haver of plenty of NHL-caliber talent, was shredded by the awesome Russian team, 4-0, in a preliminary round Group B match today.

Team OAR broke it open in the second period: Nikolay Prokhorkin scored his second goal two minutes into the period, and Ilya Kovalchuk added another with just a second left before the second intermission. Kovalchuk scored a second goal immediately after the start of the third period, to turn the contest officially into a laugher.

Russia kept the heat on late, keeping their best players on the ice for a late power play to try to extend the lead, to the apparent frustration of U.S. head coach Tony Granato:

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Olympic hockey uses goal differential as a tie-breaker for seeding going forward, of course. I feel like that practical concern ought to outweigh a superficial performance of sportsmanship? Maybe I would feel differently if I were getting annihilated in an Olympic contest.

Group B has now wrapped. OAR finished first, and with the only positive goal differential in the group. Slovenia and the U.S. both finished with a minus-4 goal differential, but Slovenia won twice (both in overtime), including once over the U.S., giving them second place. Russia earned themselves a bye, whereas the U.S. will play a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the single-elimination qualification round. Medaling, at this point, looks like a long shot.