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Father Knows Best For Team USA Forward

By Harry Thompson, 02/16/18, 10:15AM EST


Ryan Donato leans on father, Ted, who is head coach at Harvard University

GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Who said kids don’t listen to their parents anymore?

After making his Olympic debut Thursday night against Slovenia, Ryan Donato had a chance to call back to Boston and talk with his father, Ted, who is the head coach at Harvard University.

After exchanging pleasantries and sharing Olympic experiences, the talk shifted to the team’s earlier overtime loss. And the elder Donato, who played for Team USA in the 1992 Olympics, quickly changed out of dad mode and put on his coach’s cap.

“He’s a coach at the end of the day so whenever he gets a chance to talk to me at the end of the game he’s going to run me through a few things that I need to change for the next game,” Donato said.

One piece of advice his father offered was to set his shooter’s gaze just a little bit lower.

Donato scored both U.S. goals in a 2-1 win over Slovakia

“He told me, ‘Don’t shoot so high anymore. Don’t shoot for the top shelf. Shoot low to the blocker side,’” Donato said.

So when he found the puck on his stick on Team USA’s first power play opportunity, the son took his father’s advice to heart.

“I immediately started thinking ‘blocker, blocker.’ It went in so it was definitely a good feeling,” said Donato, who scored both U.S. goals in a 2-1 victory over Slovakia

As U.S. head coach Tony Granato pointed out later, it was the same advice the coaching staff had shared with Donato earlier in the day. But as any hockey player knows, two assists can be credited for a goal.

“I think we probably mentioned that to him too, but we’ll give his dad credit for that, for sure,” Granato said. “And if he wants to call back with any other tips before the Russia game he can do that.”

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Date Opponent Round Result Venue
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

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