GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Brian O'Neill (Yardley, Pa.) and Jordan Greenway (Canton, N.Y.) each netted goals but the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team fell to Slovenia in overtime, 3-2, here tonight in its opening game at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.
"I thought we played two great periods," said Tony Granato, head coach of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. “We were on our heels in the third at times and they took advantage. Give them credit. All-in-all, I liked the way we played. We’ve got a terrific group and we’ll be ready to play Slovakia."
The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team (0-0-1-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) continues preliminary round play against Slovakia on Friday (Feb. 16) at 12:10 p.m. local time, making it a 10:10 p.m. ET puck drop on Thursday (Feb. 15) in the U.S. That contest will be televised live on CNBC in addition to being streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
Team USA had the first quality scoring chance of the contest just over six minutes into play when Greenway had a pair of point-blank attempts stopped by Slovenian goaltender Gasper Kroselj.
Less than three minutes later, defenseman Noah Welch (Brighton, Mass.) kept the game scoreless by sliding in front of a wide-open U.S. net to deny a Slovenian rebound attempt after an initial save by Ryan Zapolski (Erie, Pa.) forced him out of position.
With 2:16 remaining in the opening period, O’Neill gave Team USA a 1-0 lead when he converted from the slot. The play started when Garrett Roe (Vienna, Va.) won a puck battle in the Slovenian corner and skated towards the back of the net where he fed a centering pass to O’Neill, who beat Korselj lower blocker-side. The U.S. retained the one-goal advantage entering the first intermission.
In the first 10 minutes of the middle frame, both teams traded power play opportunities but neither were able to capitalize. Zapolski stood tall during the Slovenian power play, making a pair of big saves to keep Team USA in front just before the midway point of the period.
Greenway doubled the U.S. advantage with 7:30 left in the second stanza when he slid home a loose puck in front of goal after an initial shot by Bobby Sanguinetti (Wilmington, N.C.) forced a scramble above the crease. The score remained 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.
Team USA’s lead was cut in half 5:49 into the final period when Blaz Gregorc fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that cut through traffic and past a screened Zapolski.
After Slovenia pulled Kroselj for an extra attacker, Jan Mursak tied the game with 1:37 remaining before netting the game-winner 38 seconds into the overtime period.
Zapolski finished with 22 saves on 25 shots in goal for the United States.
NOTES: The U.S. outshot Slovenia, 36-25, while finishing 0-for-3 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill. For complete game statistics, click here … Alongside Granato, Keith Allain (Worcester, Mass.), Chris Chelios (Chicago, Ill.), Ron Rolston (Fenton, Mich.) and Scott Young (Clinton, Mass.) are serving as assistant coaches … Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who unexpectedly passed away on Jan. 21, 2018, is the team’s general manager while Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass.) is the director of player personnel … The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team has captured two gold medals (1980, 1960), eight silver medals (2010, 2002, 1972, 1956, 1952, 1932, 1924, 1920) and one bronze medal (1936) all-time in Olympic play … USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan, vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. Olympic Teams ... For complete coverage of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, click here.
|Wed., Feb. 14||Slovenia||Preliminary||OTL, 2-3||Kwandong Hockey Centre|
|Fri., Feb. 16||Slovakia||Preliminary||W, 2-1||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Sat., Feb. 17||Olympic Athletes From Russia||Preliminary||L, 0-4||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Tues., Feb. 20||Slovakia||Qualification||W, 5-1||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Wed., Feb 21||Czech Republic||Quarterfinals||SOL, 2-3||Gangneung Hockey Centre|