The Team USA men's hockey team lost their Olympic opener in gut-punching fashion

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  • The United States men’s hockey team lost its opening game in Olympic play on Wednesday, falling to Slovenia, 3-2, in overtime.
  • The loss came despite the Americans holding a 2-0 lead late in the third period.
  • The game-tying goal came with under two minutes remaining.
  • Despite the loss, the race for gold is still wide open.

The United States men’s hockey team got off to a rocky start at the Winter Olympics on Wednesday, falling to Slovenia 3-2 in overtime.

Even with the absence of NHL talent this year, Team USA still wasn’t expected to lose to Slovenia, and for the majority of the game looked like they’d be able to take care of business to start their Olympic run with a win. After goals from Brian O’Neill and Jordan Greenway, the Americans took a 2-0 lead into the third period.

Then, things began to fall apart.

As Team USA sat back in the hockey-equivalent of a prevent defence, Slovenia began peppering U.S. goalie Ryan Zapolski with shots throughout the third period. Jan Urbas first broke through for Slovenia, cutting the Americans lead to 2-1 with 15 minutes remaining in the game.

After pulling their goalie with under two minutes to play, Slovenia equalised with the extra man, with Jan Mursak finding the back of the net to force overtime. In the extra period, it would be Mursak again who would end the game just 38 seconds after the puck dropped, to give Slovenia the 3-2 victory.

While the loss is disappointing, it’s not entirely detrimental to the United States’ medal chances, as the group stages of the tournament are merely for seeding for the knockout stages to come. Still, it’s not a great start for a team that already had questions heading into the competition.

That said, with gold medal favourites Olympic Athletes from Russia also falling in their first game to Slovakia, it appears that the top spot on the podium is still very much up for grabs.

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