Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

U.S. men's hockey team stalls late, loses to Slovenia in Olympics

U.S. men's hockey team stalls late, loses to Slovenia in Olympics U.S. men's hockey team stalls late, loses to Slovenia in Olympics
Frederick Owens | 15 February, 2018, 17:06

Mursak, a Red Wings draft pick who played for the team for parts of three seasons, scored the game-tying goal late in the third and then netted the game-winner in overtime to lift Slovenia to a surprising 3-2 win over the USA on Wednesday morning.

Former Red Wing Jan Mursak, the only Slovene with any National Hockey League experience, provided huge leadership and two goals, one to tie the game with just 1:17 remaining in the third period and another to win it 38 seconds into overtime.

Ice Hockey - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men Preliminary Round Match - Slovakia v Olympic Athletes from Russia - Gangneung Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea - February 14, 2018 - Peter Ceresnak of Slovakia (14) celebrates his third period goal with teammates on the bench. Although the United States made the first offensive thrust, a quick reversal of the puck by Slovenia allowed Mursak to fly down the left wing, and his goal only 38 seconds into the extra period sent the Americans to bed grumpy.

That they did, even though goals by former Kings farmhand Brian O'Neill from the slot at 17:44 of the first period and Jordan Greenway, on a backhander from deep on the right side at 12:57 of the second period, seemed to put the game out of reach.

Next up, the USA faces Slovakia in the second preliminary-round matchup on Friday before taking on Athletes of Russian Federation on Saturday. Across town, the favored Russians opened Olympic play with a 3-2 loss to Slovakia.

Ryan Zapolski made 22 saves as the United States failed to protect a two-goal lead in the final period.

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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.

In the five-minute, sudden-death overtime, Slovenia scored in less than a minute to end the game. This is unacceptable. We play Slovakia tomorrow and we better damn well win that game, or we're in deep trouble. This month, he is in PyeongChang captaining the U.S. Olympic Team.

Kroselj made a handful of quality saves to keep Slovenia in the game, and Zapolski had to do the same in the second period, stopping Urbas on a one-timer with Greenway in the box and the US on the penalty kill.

At the 2014 Games in Sochi, Team USA placed fourth. He scored two goals and two assists in his career, for the Red Wings. The Americans played solid hockey two-thirds of the way through the game, but it ultimately didn't matter after a poor showing in the final frame cost them three points in the standings.

For now, all the USA must focus on Slovakia and make sure they secure a win or else they can kiss their chances of a medal goodbye. "We got away from that in the third". And failing to beat Slovakia at the Olympics is a reminder of more recent problems. "They were the better team in the third and it was good enough for them to get the win". Granato said fatigue and the hype of the game might have been a little too much for some of his players.

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