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


For 40 minutes things went swimmingly for the star-less USA men's hockey team in its Olympic opener against Slovenia.

But things changed in the third period.

The Olympic Games have followed the same pattern since women's hockey made its debut at the 1998 Games in Nagano.

A 2-0 lead, on goals by Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway, didn't really seem to do Team USA's performance total justice as Slovenia didn't get a lot going in their offensive zone. Olympic upsets happen, and the United States was on the wrong end this time. Their opponents took advantage of the Americans' sloppiness as Jan Urbas got Slovenia on the board with 15 minutes left to play in the frame.

Tony Granato, a former assistant coach of the Red Wings, who is how head coach at Wisconsin, and Chris Chelios, who is now an assistant coach in Detroit, are two of the United States coaches.

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That's because five players on the team's roster of 23 are from the Jesuit-run school - two are recent graduates and three are current students taking a leave of absence for the Pyeongchang Games. He finished his Red Wings career with four points in 46 games before moving to the KHL.

Coach Tony Granato runs a USA men's hockey practice at the Gangneung Hockey Center on February 9.

But will little time left in the game Wednesday, Mursak lingered toward the front of the United States goal crease, near goalie Ryan Zapolski.

Even though the Americans came into the third period with the 2-0 lead, the team was sloppy as they allowed Slovenia to put 11 shots on goal.

Blaz Gregorc, who had a goal and an assist for Slovenia, fired shot on goal from the point.

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

Mursak played in his first National Hockey League game December 28, 2010 for the Red Wings, replacing Daniel Cleary, who had injured his ankle.

Mursak added his second goal of the game 38 seconds into overtime to complete the comeback win.

- Women's hockey: The USA will face Canada in what amounts to a crucial rivalry game for the Americans.

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