Men's Hockey: Slovenia down United States 3-2 in overtime

Willie Desjardins

Winter Olympics 2018: Slovenia claim first ice hockey win over USA

The U.S. men's hockey team put itself in a hole in the opening game of the Olympics by losing 3-2 in overtime to Slovenia. Goals by Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway had staked the Americans to a two-goal lead after two periods, and Slovenia had managed just 12 shots against the U.S.net. Greenway is the first black US men's hockey player in Olympics history.

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 US began drawing penalties with its speed and then found a way to cash in. During the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, Terry scored three consecutive shootout goals to beat Russian Federation in semifinals and scored the single shootout shot against Canada for the gold medal.

With under two minutes left in the third, Slovenia pulled its goalie, Gasper Kroselj, and Mursak scored to tie the game at 2.

Afterward, the USA lost to Sweden in the quarterfinals, and Canada was able to advance to the gold medal game by beating the Czech Republic.

For the United States, the loss represented a huge stumble out of the gate in the first quadrennial Olympic tournament played without National Hockey League players since 1994.

The U.S. defenseman Matt Gilroy blocked an initial pass from Rok Ticar to Mursak.

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Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk both had scoring chances but the Slovakian goalie Branislav Konrad wasn't going to give anything to them.

"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. He scored his first goal against the Avalanche, January 10, 2011. 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.

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

With captain Brian Gionta off for tripping, the USA got a couple of scares when Slovenia hit the post early on the power play and then nearly scored moments later.

The game starts at 10:10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on NBCSN.

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