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United States Hockey Team Allows Slovenians to Believe in Miracles

14 February 2018

A guy who spends a lot of time around Saginaw in the summer gave Team USA fits in Gangneung, South Korea, on Wednesday, as Slovenia shocked the men's ice-hockey team, 3-2, in overtime.

Jan Mursak scored the tying goal with 1:37 left in the third period and the victor in overtime as Slovenia rallied to stun Team USA in the Olympic opener for both teams.

The Americans built a 2-0 lead on goals by Brian O'Neill, a former player at Yale who now plays for Jokerit in the KHL, and Jordan Greenway.

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Bobby Sanguinetti reacts after Slovenia scores the game-tying goal against the United States at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on February 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.

The same sort of scenario for "the other" game of the day, Russian's came out of the gate flying and showing confidence that they will take this one home without any doubt.

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Jan Mursak was the hero late in the 3rd, the former Red Wing saved his team from a loss and tied the game up while beating US goalie Ryan Zapolski glove side. "But I think the whole team showed a really good performance today". Twenty-three others have represented the worldwide competitions and captured 14 medals.

It is the first Winter Olympic men's hockey tournament in 24 years without NHL players. It became razor thin 5:49 into the third when Gregorc beat Zapolski to get Slovenia on the board. A part of Yugoslavia until 1991, Slovenia did not qualify for an Olympic ice hockey tournament until 2014 but finished a respectable seventh in Sochi.

Slovenia, the Americans' first opponent in the round-robin preliminary round, enters with much lower expectations. The U.S., playing with National Hockey League players, beat Slovenia 5-1, at Sochi, in 2014.

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In the United States, the game starts Wednesday morning at 7:10 a.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. 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.

United States Hockey Team Allows Slovenians to Believe in Miracles