USA men stunned by Slovenia in Olympic hockey opener

Gionta gears up for games

US Olympic Men's Hockey: Dates, times and Upstate New York athletes

Former 15-year National Hockey League veteran and team captain Brian Gionta leads the American roster for the tournament, which runs from Wednesday through February 24.

It started off terribly for the US men's hockey team, which choked away a 2-0 lead in the third period and lost 3-2 in overtime to heavy underdog Slovenia Wednesday in their 2018 Olympic opener.

Slovenia had begun to tilt the ice toward the United States end, after they were out-shot for most of the first two periods, as the Americans were mostly the aggressors.

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The tying goal came with the Slovenia net empty. The team made its first appearance at the Sochi Games in 2014, where it finished seventh. While there won't be any household names playing in the tournament, outside of former NHLer Brian Gionta, when the Americans open play on Wednesday against Slovenia, the "replacements" are eager to show the world their talent.

Twenty-three others have represented the worldwide competitions and captured 14 medals. A 2-0 lead, on goals by Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway, didn't really seem to do Team USA's performance total justice as Slovenia didn't get a lot going in their offensive zone.

In the absence of the NHL, which chose not to send players to Pyeongchang, the USA men's national team is comprised of outcasts. Brian O'Neill gave team US a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period off a nice assist from Roe Garrett from behind the net. 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".

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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.

Canada and Sweden are also in the hunt for the top spot on the podium, while the United States can reach the medals with a roster full of college athletes and players from the AHL. He had 49 goals and 74 assists for 123 points in 186 KHL games, entering this season.

Zapolski allowed three goals on 25 shots, including the first goal by Jan Urbas. US leads Slovenia 1-0 17:44 in.

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