United States Hockey Team Allows Slovenians to Believe in Miracles

Dean Simpson
February 14, 2018

As Team USA sat back in the hockey-equivalent of a prevent defense, Slovenia began peppering US goalie Ryan Zapolski with shots throughout the third period.

The loss came despite the Americans holding a 2-0 lead late in the third period.

The bench of the joint Korean women's hockey team erupts in cheers after Randi Heesoo Griffin scores a goal against Japan in the teams&apos Group B game of the women's tournament at the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics at Kwandong Hockey Centre in G

The United States had a 2-0 lead entering the third period thanks to goals by Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway. He was on the ice for Slovenia's first goal, but not the final two. Since the 1998 Nagano Games, the world's best hockey players meet every four years in the ultimate display of national pride and for global bragging rights. Instead of Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews, the U.S.is led by captain Brian Gionta and a cast of former NHLers, including Chris Bourque, Mark Arcobello and James Wisniewski among them.

Team USA burst out of the gates by pouncing on Slovenia in the first period.

The Olympic hockey tournament is being played without NHL players for the first time since the Lillehammer Games in 1994 after the league and International Olympic Committee failed to agree on players' travel and insurance costs. Brian O'Neill gave team US a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period off a nice assist from Roe Garrett from behind the net.

"I'm proud of my guys, I'm proud of the team", said Mursak, who played sporadically with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings between 2010 and 2012.

"It was exciting to get my first, but it would have been much better to get a win tonight", said Greenway, one of four American college players in the USA team.

Granato kept Team USA's starting goalie under wraps much of a lead-up to the Games, but on Tuesday gave Ryan Zapolski the nod in net for the opener. Both sides exchange penalties towards the end of the period but nothing came and both sides were still tied after 40 minutes of hockey. He rings it off the crossbar with the net wide open on the power play. It's 2-2 after the first period. United States of America leads Slovenia 1-0 17:44 in.

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