Olympics: Slovenia comes back to stun US


Jan Mursak tied the game late in third period and tallied the game victor in overtime as Slovenia took down the United States in the opening game of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Team USA lost its Olympic opener in overtime, 3-2, to Slovenia on Wendesday.

Last year, Gary Bettman made it official: National Hockey League players would not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics and considered the case closed. Greenway is one of four collegiate players who will represent the United States in the tournament.

Every team advances to the knockout stage, but Team USA is in danger of a hard first game in the knockout round if it can't right the ship after Wednesday's loss.

The loss was a devastating one for Team USA, since beating Slovenia seemed like the one virtual guarantee for the Stars and Stripes entering the tournament.

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After a scoreless second period, Slovakia took advantage of sloppy play by from the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation in the third as Ceresnak collected the victor on a powerplay off a second delay of game penalty. O'Neill fired a wrist shot that beat Slovenia goaltender Gasper Kroselj on his stick side. But the team stopped short of carrying the momentum throughout the third period and overtime to secure its first win. After the US reached double-digits in number of shots taken, Brian O'Neill, a 29-year-old who plays in Finland, scored first for Team USA with just more than two minutes left in the first period.

That sounds good - to be anywhere near an NHL level of scoring with a ragtag group of non-NHL players is commendable - but considering the 2010 squad in Vancouver scored goals at a rate of 351 goals per 82 NHL games and the 2014 unit in Sochi was at 446 per 82 it is easy to see just how big a falloff we can expect in Pyeongchang with no NHL players.

Zapolski allowed three goals on 25 shots, including the first goal by Jan Urbas.

So, what went wrong for Team USA?

In the five-minute, sudden-death overtime, Slovenia scored in less than a minute to end the game.

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I would expect to beat Slovenia if we sent a high school all-star team to South Korea.

Even though Team USA lacked any closing ability, head coach Tony Granato was overall satisfied with their performance.

"I thought we played two great periods", Granato said, according to USA Hockey.

The Russians tried to respond after Ceresnak's goal but couldn't take advantage of two power plays in the final 10 minutes.

The Russians next face Slovenia, surprise 3-2 winners over the United States, on Friday while Slovakia play the Americans. Slovakia leads Group B with three points, and with the Americans holding third place with one point, a regulation win would flip the standings back in favor of Team USA despite a disappointing opening game loss.

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