GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Ryan Donato (Scituate, Mass.) scored two power-play goals and Ryan Zapolski (Erie, Pa.) made 21 saves as the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team topped Slovakia, 2-1, here today in its second preliminary round contest at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.
“We had good energy from all four lines and Zapolski made big saves when he had to,” said Tony Granato, head coach of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team. “It was a great atmosphere with the American presence here and we’re thankful for the terrific support. Overall, I liked the way we played. We took a step forward today and we look forward to our game tomorrow night."
The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team (1-0-1-0/W-OTW-OTL-L) closes preliminary round play against the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Saturday (Feb. 17) at 9:10 p.m. local/7:10 a.m. ET. That contest will be televised live on NBCSN in addition to being streamed on NBCOlympics.com.
Donato opened the scoring for Team USA with a power-play tally 7:10 into the game. The play started with Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) carrying the puck into the slot before dropping a pass for Donato, who fired a shot above the blocker of Jan Laco.
Slovakia responded just :25 later when Andrej Kudrna’s deflection from an odd angle to the right of goal trickled past Zapolski to tie the game.
With less than two minutes left in the period, Terry nearly restored the lead when he deked around a Slovakian defender and threw a point-blank attempt on goal but it was turned aside by Laco.
In the middle frame, the United States utilized its speed to take control of the game and outshoot Slovakia, 16-6, but was unable to net the go-ahead goal. The duo of Brian O’Neill (Yardley, Pa.) and Broc Little (Phoenix, Ariz.) created Team USA’s best chance when a strong forecheck resulted in O’Neill taking the puck along the right wall and whipping a centering pass to Little who’s one-timed effort sailed just wide of the top right corner.
Zapolski was called upon late in the frame as he made a series of big saves during a Slovakian man-advantage to keep the score even after 40 minutes.
Just 2:51 into the final stanza, the U.S. regained its one-goal lead with another power play tally from Donato. After Marc Arcobello (Milford, Conn.) won the draw at the right faceoff dot, Chris Bourque (Boston, Mass.) collected the puck and skated along the blue line before tossing it back to the centerman. Arcobello then fired a pass down low to Donato who was able to cut towards the net and tuck a forehand shot between Laco’s legs for a 2-1 U.S. lead.
Both teams traded chances throughout the remainder of the frame, but neither were able to convert as Donato’s second tally proved to be the game-winner.
Zapolski stopped 21 of 22 shots to earn his first Olympic victory.
NOTES: The U.S. outshot Slovakia, 31-22, went 2-for-5 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill. For complete game statistics, click here … Alongside Granato, Keith Allain (Worcester, Mass.), Chris Chelios (Chicago, Ill.), Ron Rolston (Fenton, Mich.) and Scott Young (Clinton, Mass.) are serving as assistant coaches … Jim Johannson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who unexpectedly passed away on Jan. 21, 2018, is the team’s general manager while Ben Smith (Gloucester, Mass.) is the director of player personnel … The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team has captured two gold medals (1980, 1960), eight silver medals (2010, 2002, 1972, 1956, 1952, 1932, 1924, 1920) and one bronze medal (1936) all-time in Olympic play … USA Hockey's international council, chaired by Gavin Regan (Potsdam, N.Y.), vice president of USA Hockey, has oversight responsibilities for all U.S. Olympic Teams ... For complete coverage of the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team, click here.
|Wed., Feb. 14||Slovenia||Preliminary||OTL, 2-3||Kwandong Hockey Centre|
|Fri., Feb. 16||Slovakia||Preliminary||W, 2-1||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Sat., Feb. 17||Olympic Athletes From Russia||Preliminary||L, 0-4||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Tues., Feb. 20||Slovakia||Qualification||W, 5-1||Gangneung Hockey Centre|
|Wed., Feb 21||Czech Republic||Quarterfinals||SOL, 2-3||Gangneung Hockey Centre|