Team USA Starts Olympic Men's Hockey Tournament With Overtime Loss To Slovenia

Team USA Starts Olympic Men's Hockey Tournament With Overtime Loss To Slovenia

All is not lost for the Americans as all 12 Olympic teams advance to the knockout round.

Slovenia, ranked 15th by the International Ice Hockey Federation, got on the board in the third period when Blaz Gregorc threaded a wrist shot through a crowd in front of USA goalkeeper Ryan Zapolski.

Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway scored as the United States of America built a 2-0 lead. A part of Yugoslavia until 1991, Slovenia did not qualify for an Olympic ice hockey tournament until 2014 but finished a respectable seventh in Sochi.

"I'm proud of my guys", Slovenian captain Jan Mursak, who scored the tying and game-winning goals, told reporters post-game.

Russia, by the way, might have not only lose the game but a player for at least a game - Per IIHF source Nikita Nesterov's hit in the 1st period will be reviewed by disciplinary committee. Captain Brian Gionta is the most accomplished American, with 15 National Hockey League seasons and a Stanley Cup on his resume.

More news: Australia wins toss, will bowl 1st vs England in MCG T20

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

American hockey fans will now surely lament the fact NHL players are not in the Olympics, more than they already have been, and the great amount of relative unknowns on the United States roster. The final game in group play is Saturday against the team from Russian Federation. All 12 teams advance to the single-elimination portion of the tournament, but group play determines seeding; the victor of each group, plus the highest ranking runner-up, earn a first-round bye.

Team USA has won the last four World titles, seven of the last eight.

Jordan Greenway, who still plays at Boston University, scored Team USA's second goal of the night at Kwandong Hockey Centre on Wednesday. Team Canada has taken the last four Olympic gold medals, with the US winning the 1998 Games. Both sides exchange penalties towards the end of the period but nothing came and both sides were still tied after 40 minutes of hockey. Americans have four shots compared to Slovenia's one so far.

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