BEIJING — Minutes after failing to attain within the shootout because the People’ final probability to remain alive on the Olympics, captain Andy Miele took off his gloves to wipe the tears popping out of his eyes.
“I’m simply unhappy it’s over,” he stated.
With one unhealthy bounce within the remaining minute of regulation that grew to become the tying purpose and an unsuccessful shootout, the US is out of the lads’s hockey match on the Beijing Video games after a stunning 3-2 loss to Slovakia within the quarterfinals Wednesday. The beforehand unbeaten U.S. that earned the highest seed within the knockout spherical and seemed poised for a deep run as a substitute was dealt the identical end result because the 2018 group within the final Olympics with out NHL gamers.
“This one’s going to sting for a bit bit,” veteran defenseman Steven Kampfer stated. “I assumed we have been the higher workforce for a majority of the sport. You come up a bit bit brief.”
Eight years after T.J. Oshie earned the “T.J. Sochi” nickname for his shootout heroics in opposition to Russia, there was no such magic this time round. Brendan Brisson, Sean Farrell, Matt Knies, Nathan Smith and Miele all got here up empty within the shootout.
The U.S. additionally went 0 for five within the shootout loss to the Czech Republic in Pyeongchang 4 years in the past.
“It’s a troublesome state of affairs with the sport using on you,” Miele stated. “I wished to attain, I didn’t and it stinks. I don’t know what else to say.”
Strauss Mann allowed just one purpose on 5 pictures by Slovakia, with Peter Cehlarik beating him with a transfer he practiced in warmup and anticipated to catch the goaltender abruptly. On the bench through the shootout, 17-year-old Slovakia ahead Juraj Slafkovsky informed Cehlarik he believed he would rating when it was his flip.
“Don’t fear,” Cehlarik informed him in Slovak. “Backhand, forehand and I’ll rating.”
After goalie Patrik Rybar denied Miele for his remaining save of the 38 he made in regulation, additional time and the shootout, assistant Jan Pardavy embraced Slovakia coach Craig Ramsay and Slovakia celebrated its first journey to the Olympic semifinals since 2010 in Vancouver.
“It’s a thrill,” stated Ramsay, who performed 14 NHL seasons and spent greater than 20 years within the league as an assistant. “Even when it went in, when Cehlarik scored and Pardo nearly broke me in half, I nonetheless stated: ‘Did we win? Have we received this factor?’ Since you lose observe at 5 shootouts. It was so thrilling. I do know what they’re feeling and I’m feeling it.”
The People felt a mixture of unhappiness, remorse and acceptance on the random bounces that may determine a hockey sport. They have been the one workforce to win all three group stage video games in regulation, trailed for simply 11 minutes the whole match and nonetheless noticed their medal desires dashed.
“We have been truly joking we nonetheless haven’t misplaced a sport, actually — we misplaced a shootout,” coach David Quinn stated. “That’s the irritating half.”
Worldwide guidelines name for 10 minutes of 3-on-3 OT adopted by a five-player shootout, even within the knockout spherical. Whereas lamenting the cruelty of getting eradicated in a 1-on-1 abilities competitors, Quinn and his gamers identified that the sport by no means ought to have gotten to that time.
After Nick Abruzzese tied the rating within the remaining minute of the primary interval and Sam Hentges put the U.S. up halfway by way of the second, there have been loads of probabilities to construct on the lead and get some additional respiration room. The People acquired 4 energy performs, together with three within the third and 1:22 of 3-on-3 time, and didn’t rating on any of them.
The closest they acquired was Matty Beniers’ shot off the submit.
“We get the 5-on-3 and actually that was the game-changer,” Quinn stated. “If you’ve acquired a 5-on-3 in that situation and also you don’t capitalize on it, you’re giving that different workforce a number of hope, they usually capitalized.”
Slovakia capitalized with the online empty for an additional attacker when captain Marek Hrivik acquired his stick on the puck that was unfastened within the crease and put it in with 43.7 seconds left in regulation.
“Bounces occur,” stated Mann, who made 34 saves in regulation and OT. “It wasn’t anybody’s fault. It’s hockey.”
When the hockey moved to 3-on-3, the U.S. outshot Slovakia 7-4 however once more didn’t end. Matt Knies, whose mother and father are Slovak, had among the finest scoring probabilities within the remaining seconds of additional time however was stopped by Rybar.
Already lacking top-four defenseman Jake Sanderson due to an undisclosed harm, the U.S. performed a lot of the sport with out top-line winger Brian O’Neill, who took a puck off his left foot halfway by way of the second.
“That exhibits lots: He sacrificed his physique for the higher of the workforce, and that’s Brian,” Miele stated. “It was powerful to lose him, however in case you’re going to lose somebody sacrificing for the workforce like that, that’s one of the best ways to go.”
Shedding in a shootout was a crushing approach to go for the U.S., which had practiced that every day since arriving in Beijing. Beniers, who was one of many workforce’s finest gamers in opposition to Slovakia, was into account however didn’t make the minimize.
With Slafkovsky on hearth after scoring his tournament-leading fifth purpose, Slovakia will face Finland in a single semifinal Friday after the Finns took care of enterprise in opposition to Switzerland with a 5-1 victory. The Finns received the groups’ first assembly within the preliminary spherical 6-2, although Slovakia appears like a special workforce now.
“You need to maintain getting higher because the match strikes on, and I feel they’ve been ready to do this,” Finland captain Valtteri Filppula stated. “Final sport they performed actually nice. So, it’s going to be a troublesome sport.”
The Russians superior to the semifinals by beating Denmark 3-1 on targets by captain Vadim Shipachyov and former NHL defensemen Slava Voynov and Nikita Nesterov. Not like the U.S., the defending champion Russians acquired the job achieved on the ability play within the third, with Voynov scoring with 4:14 left to seal it.
They will face the winner of the final quarterfinal matchup between Canada and Sweden.
The match is huge open after Slovakia knocked off the U.S., which was dominant nearly proper till its abrupt exit.
“I assumed we had an excellent workforce,” Kampfer stated. “I assumed we may’ve made an excellent run right here. Come up a bit brief, it’s positively disappointing.”
Observe AP Hockey Author Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno
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