BEIJING – The United States has staggered out of the men’s hockey tournament at the Olympics after losing the lead.
Marek Hryvik scored a goal 43.7 seconds before the end, Peter Cechlarik won, and Slovakia on Wednesday defeated the United States 3-2 in a series of bullets and knocked out the Americans who took first place in the quarterfinals. The United States was leading nearly half the game before a draw when Slovakia pulled their goalkeeper on an additional striker who played 6 to 5.
The United States has become accustomed to playing tough games in the tournament, beating Canada by two goals and Germany by one. But the inflated coating ahead allowed Hrivik to score a puck past goalkeeper Strauss Mann, who has been impressive so far.
Coming out empty on four power games, including three in the third period, he returned to bite the Americans. Kraken’s draft pick Matt Beniers hit the post with one of the best scoring chances in the US in the third, but the team failed to break Patrick Rybar, who played for Slovakia for the second day in a row.
The first goal for Slovakia was scored by Juraj Slafkowski, the fifth leading the tournament of the 17-year-old forward. He is expected to enter the top 10 in the NHL draft this summer.
Goals in the US by Nick Abruzze and Sam Hentges were scored on a textbook. Abruzzo’s goal with a score of 7:26 after Slafkowski’s goal equalized, and Hentges put the United States ahead in the middle of the second period.
Chief winger Brian O’Neill was lost by the end of the game in the second when he took the puck off his left foot. Defender Jake Sanderson missed the second game in a row due to an undetected injury.
Coached by longtime NHL assistant Craig Ramsey, Slovakia will face Finland, the Russians, Sweden, Canada or Denmark in the semifinals. Game for gold medals on Sunday.
The United States was knocked out in the quarterfinals of the second Olympics in a row without NHL players. The 2018 national team was knocked out by the Czech Republic.
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