Team USA hockey fans anticipating another “Miracle on Ice” shouldn’t hold their breath — at least when it comes to the men’s team.
The U.S. men’s ice hockey team lost its first match of the 2018 Winter Olympics on Wednesday after Slovenia rallied for a 3-2 comeback win. Despite leading the game 2-0 before the third period, the U.S. collapsed as Slovenia tied up the game with just 1:37 left to play. Slovenia then scored the game-winning goal in overtime.
Slovenia only made its Winter Olympics ice hockey debut in 2014 at the Sochi Games, where the team made a surprising appearance in the quarterfinals. The U.S. easily beat Slovenia back then with a 5-1 win in the final preliminary match ahead of the Olympic playoffs. But those games were under different circumstances.
The National Hockey League chose not to send players to the 2018 Winter Olympics amid disputes between the league and the International Olympic Committee over costs and injury risks, among other factors. The decision marked the first time in more than 20 years that professional NHL athletes could not participate in the Olympics. The move dramatically altered the rosters for not only Team USA, but also for teams from Canada, Sweden and Russia, among other countries.
Some Team USA fans were hoping for a miracle like they