Portugal Colonial - Slovakia stun USA in Olympic hockey after last-minute goal

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Slovakia stun USA in Olympic hockey after last-minute goal
Slovakia stun USA in Olympic hockey after last-minute goal

Slovakia stun USA in Olympic hockey after last-minute goal

Slovakia stunned the United States with a tying goal in the final minute of regulation before winning 3-2 in a shootout to eliminate the Americans in the Beijing Olympic ice hockey quarterfinals on Wednesday.

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The United States were 44 seconds from sending Slovakia home when captain Marek Hrivik scored to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Slovakia scored the only goal in the final penalty shootout.

USA captain Andy Miele had one last shot but his effort was smothered by Slovak netminder Patrik Rybar.

Slovakia’s big 17-year-old Juraj Slafkovsky, who has emerged as one of the stars of the tournament, opened the scoring midway through the first period, giving him five goals in Beijing to lead all players.

The US took back the lead early in the second and held it until Hrivik’s late goal.

The pandemic-driven decision by the National Hockey League, the world's top pro league, to keep its superstars away from Beijing has deprived the Olympics of a best-on-best competition.

The NHL absence has particularly weakened the USA and Canada, forcing them to assemble collections of ageing veterans and NHL-bound youngsters who had little time to prepare together.

Still, the United States -– the youngest squad in Beijing -- went 3-0 in group play thanks largely to its speed on the ice, but had their hands full in a scrappy game against the opportunistic Slovaks.

The other quarterfinals on Wednesday are the defending champion Russians versus Denmark, Finland versus Switzerland and Canada against Sweden.

burs-dma/pst

J.Oliveira--PC