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

14 February 2018

The Americans next will play Slovakia on Friday. But there are a couple things most agree upon. In four cases, players were pulled from their NCAA teams and classes to compete for their country, hearkening to the most famous of U.S. Olympic triumphs: the 1980 "Miracle on Ice".

Which in all likelihood makes Thursday's (Wednesday night on the West Coast) first-round game between the sport's two superpowers at Kwandong Hockey Centre a sneak preview of the Games' gold medal final next Thursday.

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With some pressure on, after a penalty to US captain Brian Gionta, Slovenia pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.

A victory over Slovenia will be important for the U.S.to have a chance at a bye to the quarterfinals of the playoff stage. After the US reached double-digits in number of shots taken, Brian O'Neill, a 29-year-old who plays in Finland, scored first for Team USA with just more than two minutes left in the first period. Uh-oh. A sloppy Team USA surrenders a goal.

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Mursak, who now plays for Frolunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League, was selected by the Red Wings in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Draft.

Granato, a longtime coach in the U.S. National Development Program, himself departed his job at the University Wisconsin to lead the Americans, who hold the sixth-best odds (10-1) to win their first gold medal since that 1980 team. The American women found their scoring touch in their most recent win, a 5-0 thumping of the Russians, and also exercised some creativity late in that game. The members of the current American team have been scattered across the globe and just found out on January 1 that they were on the team. But no matter who was on the ice, Team USA was outplayed for basically an entire period and Slovenia's finishing momentum carried them right to a quick overtime win. In that regard, the USA caught a break facing Slovenia first as opposed to the Russians, whom the Americans will face on Saturday. Instead of Patrick Kane and Auston Matthews, the U.S.is led by captain Brian Gionta and a cast of former NHLers, including Chris Bourque, Mark Arcobello and James Wisniewski among them.

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