Slovenia comes back to stun US 3-2 in OT in Olympic opener

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AP

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Five methods ended up meant to put together the People in america for this, and they understood at the next intermission Slovenia was heading to appear out punching.

The preparation and the awareness ended up not sufficient to fend off the exhaustion as the United States blew a two-target guide and misplaced a 3-2 stunner in additional time Wednesday night time in the Olympic opener for each teams. Slovenia captain Jan Mursak scored the tying target with 1:37 still left in regulation and the winner 38 seconds into additional time.

Lengthy in advance of that, the U.S. started off letting the game slip absent with blunders all about the ice.

“We started off turning the puck about in our zone and they ended up obtaining likelihood and that led to some momentum for them,” stated goaltender Ryan Zapolski, who allowed a few targets on 25 shots. “We can not give up those people likelihood that we ended up offering up out of very little there in the 3rd. That seriously kills your momentum. And they scored a target off 1 of them and from that position we ended up sort of on our heels.”

Brian O’Neill and Jordan Greenway, who became the very first African-American hockey participant for the U.S. at an Olympics, scored to construct the 2- guide in a dominant showing, and the shots ended up 24-12 right after two durations. Coach Tony Granato pointed out that Slovenia in all probability should have been the extra drained crew from playing so significantly in its defensive zone, but there was none of that from a team that has only 1 participant — Mursak — with NHL encounter.

In the game because of goalie Gasper Kroselj, who stopped 34 of 36 shots, Slovenia arrived to daily life when Jan Urbas scored 5:37 into the 3rd time period. With followers chanting “SLO-VE-NI-A,” the perennial underdogs started off pouring it on.

“We outskated them in the 3rd, primarily, and had extra electrical power,” stated Mursak, who put in time with the Detroit Purple Wings. “Following we scored that very first target, I consider we seriously obtained that added electrical power and the experience that can score some extra.”

Following flashing the breakneck speed of ahead Garrett Roe on O’Neill’s target and the rapid response of Greenway on his rebound tally, the U.S. out of the blue looked gassed. Granato puzzled if 21 gamers dressing in their very first Olympic game combined with the hype and long working day in advance of a late begin took a toll on his crew, which hadn’t performed jointly significantly.

“Our electrical power in the 3rd was not good,” Granato stated. “It could’ve been a small exhaustion just established in mentally because of the way that the working day was. But no excuses. … They ended up the greater crew in the 3rd and it was good sufficient for them to get the earn.

The U.S. at least picked up a position by obtaining to additional time, whilst the Russians misplaced 3-2 in regulation to Slovakia throughout town at Gangneung Hockey Centre. Following each individual team’s very first game, Slovakia is atop Group B, adopted by Slovenia, the U.S. and the Russians.

No 1 anticipated this sort of showing from Slovenia, which looked overmatched in the very first two durations and is largely known for possessing a star in Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar. There was no Kopitar — this is the very first Olympics because 1994 without having NHL gamers — but nevertheless the identical pluck and no-give up frame of mind that served the Slovenians beat rival Slovakia in Sochi for 1 of the most important victories in nationwide record.

Slovenia additional yet another by upsetting the U.S. and will get the Russians upcoming.

“I am proud of my men,” Mursak stated. “I am proud of the crew and hopefully we can begin wanting to the upcoming game and shock somebody else.”

The People in america didn’t hope to be shocked by significantly but go back again to the drawing board to put together to deal with Slovakia on Friday.

“We’ll discover from this,” O’Neill stated. “We have not performed a entire great deal of hockey as a crew jointly. So it can be good for us to discover from that 3rd time period.”

NOTES: Defensemen Matt Gilroy and Noah Welch wore the “As” as alternate captains. … Brandon Maxwell backed up Zapolski as veteran goalie David Leggio was scratched alongside with ahead Chad Kolarik and defenseman Will Borgen. … The attendance was announced as 3,348 at Kwandong Hockey Centre on the campus of Kwandong Catholic University.

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Comply with Hockey Author Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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Much more AP Olympics: https://wintergames.ap.org

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