With leaden legs of a team that looked emotionally spent after being hyped all day for puck drop at 9:10 p.m., the USA defenders were caught flat-footed when Slovenian captain Jan Mursak poked in a juicy rebound past goalie Ryan Zapolski to tie the score only 97 seconds before the end of regulation time. U.S. actually played very well for most of the game, outshooting Slovenia 36 to 25 while young talent such as Greenway, Ryan Donato and Troy Terry all played exceptionally well on the big stage of their first Olympic game. The United States won two of the first three, but Canada now has won five straight against their biggest - and only - rival in the sport.
"I'm happy I was able to score today and help the team", Mursak said after the game, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation. Here's how it all shook out and what we've learned from Team USA's meltdown loss to Slovenia.
Since 2013 he has been playing mostly in Russia's KHL with CSKA Moscow. Kroselj stopped 34 of the 36 shots he faced to pick up the victory, giving up goals to Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway.
The Americans didn't expect to be surprised by much but go back to the drawing board to prepare to face Slovakia on Friday. "It's a good team, I'll give them credit".
Next up, the USA faces Slovakia in the second preliminary-round matchup on Friday before taking on Athletes of Russian Federation on Saturday. "We just didn't do it for a full three periods". However, they were also the favorites on home ice in Sochi four years ago, only to struggle under the pressure before losing to Finland in the quarterfinals. Jan Urbas cut Team USA's lead in the third period six minutes into the frame, signaling that this game wasn't as finished as people thought. Although the United States made the first offensive thrust, a quick reversal of the puck by Slovenia allowed Mursak to fly down the left wing, and his goal only 38 seconds into the extra period sent the Americans to bed grumpy.
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So, what went wrong for Team USA? The U.S. conceded the game-tying goal with less than 90 seconds remaining in the third period. After each team's first game, Slovakia is atop Group B, followed by Slovenia, the USA and the Russians.
"Everyone started attacking more and they seem to have forgotten about defense", said Pavel Datsyuk, the captain of the Russian team.
"Our energy in the third wasn't great", Granato said.
When Greenway takes the ice in Pyeonchang, South Korea, he will break down a century-old barrier as he becomes the first African-American player to ever play for the U.S. Olympic Men's Hockey Team.