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Slovenia erases two-goal deficit, defeats United States in OT

Ryan Zapolski #30 of the United States reacts after giving up the game winning goal to Jan Mursak #39 of Slovenia in overtime of the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. Photo: 2018 Getty Images. Ryan Zapolski #30 of the United States reacts after giving up the game winning goal to Jan Mursak #39 of Slovenia in overtime of the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 14, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea.

February 14, 2018 09:27 AM

It's the worst lead in hockey for a reason.

With a two-goal advantage in the third period, the United States stopped attacking and allowed Slovenia to claw back. Jan Mursak tied the game late in third period and tallied the game winner in overtime as Slovenia took down the Americans in the opening game of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

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"I thought we took the foot off the gas," U.S. forward Brian O'Neil told reporters after the game. "I thought the best part of the beginning of the game was that we were pursuing pucks, hunting pucks, putting (Slovenia) in tough situations. We kind of stopped doing that in the third period."

Slovenia knotted the game at two with 1:37 remaining in the third period. With the goalie pulled and an extra attacker on the ice, Mursak was able to put home a rebound to force overtime. Blaz Gregorc and Miha Verlic assisted on the play.

"Once we scored the first goal, we really started to fly on the ice," Mursak told NBC's Pierre McGuire after the game. "It's great, but we need to start looking forward to our next game versus Slovakia."

Brian O'Neil and Jordan Greenway helped Team USA earn a 2-0 advantage before surrendering the lead in the final frame.

Garret Roe made a nifty pass from behind the net to set up Brian O'Neil at 14:44 of the opening period to give USA a 1-0 lead. Ryan Donato also assisted on the play.

Jordan Greenway buried a loose puck from in tight at 12:57 of the middle frame as the U.S. took a two-goal lead. Bobby Sanguinetti's sharp-angled shot created the rebound opportunity for Greenway. O'Neil also registered the secondary assist on the goal.

"It was exciting to get my first one under my belt," Greenway said. "But it would have been much better to get a win tonight."

Ryan Zapolski deserved far better after his 22-save performance.

"We can't give up those chances that we were giving up," Zapolski said. "That really kills your momentum and they scored a goal off one of them."

USA will face Slovakia next, at 10:10 p.m. ET on Feb. 15th.

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