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Double shock as Russians and USA suffer opening ice hockey defeats to Slovakia and Slovenia

Double shock as Russians and USA suffer opening ice hockey defeats
By Reuters

14/02/2018 at 15:58Updated 14/02/2018 at 16:27

The men's ice hockey opened with a double shock as the Olympic Athletes from Russia and the United States fell to shock defeats in Group B on Wednesday.

Slovenia came from two goals down in the third period to beat the US 3-2 in overtime.

A team who have earned a reputation for punching above their weight, Slovenia captain Jan Mursak tied the game with under two minutes to go by tapping home a rebound and scored the winner less than a minute into sudden-death overtime.

"I'm proud of my guys, I'm proud of the team," said Mursak, who played sporadically with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings between 2010 and 2012.

Slovenia ice hockey men's beat USA

Slovenia ice hockey men's beat USAGetty Images

"Hopefully, we can start looking to the next game and surprise somebody else."

Meanwhile, a third-period goal by Peter Ceresnak gave Slovakia a shock 3-2 win over OAR as the gold medal favourites squandered a two-goal lead.

Ceresnak capitalised on delay of a game penalty taken by Ivan Telegin, unleashing a slap shot from the point that beat goaltender Vasili Koshechkin to his left with just over 10 minutes to play.

The Russians drew first blood as Vladislav Gavrikov and Kirill Kaprizov found the back of the net in the opening four minutes to jump in front 2-0.

But after a lightning start, the OAR lost their composure as Slovakia hit back with a pair of goals on four shots, including a breakaway by Martin Bakos.

Slovakia beat OAR 3-2 in ice hockey

Slovakia beat OAR 3-2 in ice hockeyGetty Images

After a scoreless second period, Slovakia took advantage of sloppy play by from the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the third as Ceresnak collected the winner on a powerplay off a second delay of game penalty.

The Olympic hockey tournament is being played without NHL players for the first time since the Lillehammer Games in 1994 after the league and International Olympic Committee failed to agree on players' travel and insurance costs.

That has left teams to build their rosters from emerging local talent or from players in other professional leagues, largely from Europe.

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