Winter Olympics 2018: Russia, USA suffer shock defeats in Ice Hockey

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The 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang will be the first since 1994 not to feature a men's ice hockey tournament stocked with NHL players.

However, Slovenia stunned Team USA, scoring three unanswered goals and defeating the Americans 3-2 with a game-winning goal just 38 seconds into 3-on-3 overtime. The U.S.is set to open it's play in the Preliminary Round on Wednesday, February 14th against Slovenia.

Goals from Jan Urbas and Mursak in the third period sent the tie into overtime.

Team USA continued its dominance through the second period, as Jordan Greenway fired one past the goaltender off of a rebound at around the seven-minute mark to give the Americans a 2-0 advantage.

Next up, the US faces Slovakia in the second preliminary-round matchup on Friday before taking on Athletes of Russian Federation on Saturday.

The National Hockey League (NHL) decision not to release players for the Olympics in South Korea has made the Russians favorites to win gold. The United States lost to Canada in the semifinals.

The Americans were unable to close out Slovenia with any sense of urgency in the third period, which was ultimately their undoing as their opponents stormed back into the game. This is unacceptable. We play Slovakia tomorrow and we better damn well win that game, or we're in deep trouble.

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USA defenseman Noah Welch aided Zapolski in the first period with a sliding save of his own.

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. Slovenia drew within one about five minutes into the final period and then dialed up the heat. "I'm proud of the team and hopefully we can start looking to the next game and surprise somebody else".

"Once we scored the first goal we really started to fly on the ice", Mursak told NBC's Pierre McGuire after the game.

The U.S. Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Team will be competing in Group B with Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

"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. And failing to beat Slovakia at the Olympics is a reminder of more recent problems. We see professionals in other sports play for their countries all the time and it's done nothing but to help create stars and help expand the brand of the sport.

Team USA seemingly went into a defensive shell in the third period, however, and it cost them. Granato said fatigue and the hype of the game might have been a little too much for some of his players. The Americans played solid hockey two-thirds of the way through the game, but it ultimately didn't matter after a poor showing in the final frame cost them three points in the standings.

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