With Shocking Upset, US Is Out of Men's Hockey

Team blanked in quarterfinal shootout with Slovakia, losing 3-2
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2022 6:41 AM CST
With Shocking Upset, US Is Out of Men's Hockey
Slovakia players celebrate after the final shoot-out attempt by United States' Andy Miele, right, was blocked, giving Slovakia a 3-2 win in a men's quarterfinal round hockey game at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Minutes after failing to score in the shootout as the Americans' last chance to stay alive at the Olympics, captain Andy Miele took off his gloves to wipe the tears coming out of his eyes. "I'm just sad it's over," he said, per the AP. With one bad bounce in the final minute of regulation that became the tying goal and an unsuccessful shootout, the United States is out of the men's hockey tournament at the Beijing Games after a shocking 3-2 loss to Slovakia in the quarterfinals. The previously unbeaten US that earned the top seed in the knockout round and looked poised for a deep run instead was dealt the same result as the 2018 group in the last Olympics without NHL players.

After Nick Abruzzese tied the score in the final minute of the first period and Sam Hentges put the US up midway through the second, there were plenty of chances to build on the lead. The Americans got four power plays, including three in the third and 1:22 of 3-on-3 overtime, and did not score on any of them. Slovakia capitalized with the net empty for an extra attacker when captain Marek Hrivik got his stick on the puck that was loose in the crease and put it in with 43.7 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, the US outshot Slovakia 7-4 but again didn't finish. "This one's going to sting for a little bit," veteran defenseman Steven Kampfer said. "I thought we were the better team for a majority of the game. You come up a little bit short."

Brendan Brisson, Sean Farrell, Matt Knies, Nathan Smith and Miele all came up empty in the shootout—which became a replay of the shootout loss to the Czech Republic in Pyeongchang four years ago. Strauss Mann allowed only one goal on five shots by Slovakia, with Peter Cehlarik beating him with a move he practiced in warmup. After goalie Patrik Rybar denied Miele for his final save of the 38 he made in regulation, overtime, and the shootout, Slovakia celebrated its first trip to the Olympic semifinals since 2010 in Vancouver. With 17-year-old forward Juraj Slafkovsky on fire after scoring his tournament-leading fifth goal, Slovakia will now face Finland, the Russians, Sweden, or Canada in the semifinals Friday. (More 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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