Russians, USA fall in NHL-less openers

Lester Mason
February 18, 2018

Switzerland will play the unified Korean team, who they beat 8-0 earlier in the tournament, in a classification game on Sunday.

As close as the shots on goal were, the US rarely generated the quality scoring chances against Vasily Koshechkin that the Russians did around Zapolski, who played all three preliminary-round games. The Russians hemmed the U.S.in its zone late, and the fatigue took its toll as the game went on.

Russian athletes celebrate after the preliminary round of the men's hockey game against the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018. But it was the costly Kovalchuk goal with 0.2 seconds left in the second period that he wants back.

Slovakia's Peter Ceresnak scored the game-winning goal with 11:30 remaining in a 3-2 victory over the favoured Russians by a team assembled days ago by a Canadian coach who can't even talk to all his players.

After flashing the breakneck speed of forward Garrett Roe on O'Neill's goal and the quick reaction of Greenway on his rebound tally, the USA suddenly looked gassed. The Russians finished first in Group B and earned a bye into the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

A win against Russian Federation on Saturday would assure the US of the top spot in pool play and a first-round bye for the qualifying round.

The U.S.at least picked up a point by getting to overtime, while the Russians lost 3-2 in regulation to Slovakia across town at Gangneung Hockey Centre.


"I got a ideal pass from Martin Hasek and then I just closed my eyes shut and it finished in the goal", Ceresnak said.

"It was a knuckle-puck and from a pretty long way away", said Zapolski, whom Granato confirmed would remain the US starter moving forward. "I'm sure we'll see them again later in the tournament and I think the outcome will be a lot different". "We came out strong, we scored first goal, then our goalie make some great saves and I think our (penalty kill) was special".

Ryan Donato had the Americans' best chance of the first late in the period when he pinged a shot off the crossbar behind Koshechkin.

The U.S. rarely generated the kind of quality scoring chances against Vasily Koshechkin that the Russians did around Zapolski, who played all three preliminary-round games.

Anna Shokhina capitalised on Lara Stalder's mistake to give the Russians an unlikely lead seven minutes into the first period after the Swiss forward took a fraction too long to control a routine pass. 'We said we just need to stick together and fight until the end and that's what brought us success. And in that area, it's not pretty for the U.S.

NOTES: Defensemen Matt Gilroy and Noah Welch wore the "As" as alternate captains.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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