United States of America men's hockey team loses to Slovenia in Olympics debut

United States of America men's hockey team loses to Slovenia in Olympics debut

After a feeling-out period in the first few minutes and American defenseman Noah Welch sliding in front of a wide-open net for the save of the game, the USA began drawing penalties with its speed and then found a way to cash in.

But Slovenia rallied with two goals in the third period, including one with less than two minutes to go in regulation after they pulled their goalie. Mursak tied the game on a rebound goal with 1:37 to play.

The Olympic athletes from Russian Federation team also suffered a surprise opening defeat as Slovakia's Peter Ceresnak scored the decisive goal in their 3-2 win. He scored two goals and two assists in his career, for the Red Wings. Ceresnak's slap shot from the point found twine to capitalize on a power play and give his team a third-period lead against the gold-medal favorites.

Brian Gionta, from Rochester, serves as team captain and is the only returning Olympian.

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 United States on the penalty kill. Blaz Gregorc and Miha Verlic assisted on the play.

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Slovenia, the Americans' first opponent in the round-robin preliminary round, enters with much lower expectations.

Zapolski got out of position after lunging to his left on a save.

Mursak, who now plays for Frolunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League, was selected by the Red Wings in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Draft. Team Canada has taken the last four Olympic gold medals, with the US winning the 1998 Games. "Its great, but we need to start looking forward to our next game vs. Slovakia".

Since 2013 he has been playing mostly in Russia's KHL with CSKA Moscow.

It was the first win for Slovenia over the United States in Olympic men's ice hockey.

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