USA vs. Slovakia: 2018 Olympic Hockey Live-Stream Schedule, Odds and Pick

USA vs. Slovakia: 2018 Olympic Hockey Live-Stream Schedule, Odds and Pick

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The team hoping to channel the spirits of the 1980 United States Olympic men’s hockey team fell victim to an upset the ultimate Olympic underdogs would have been proud of if it didn’t happen to the Americans.

The American team full of college and AHL players lost to Slovenia, a team that lost in the quarterfinals in 2014 in its only Olympic appearance, in overtime to kick off its Olympic campaign in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Rebounding from defeat in a game they were supposed to win will be the first true test for the Americans, who didn’t expect this much of a challenge until the final game of pool play versus the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

Slovakia enters its matchup with the Americans on top of Group B after it knocked off the Russians 3-2 in its opening game in Pyeongchang.

An American win would burst the group wide open heading into the final set of games, which right now is the best possible scenario for head coach Tony Granato’s squad.

      

Date: Thursday, February 15 (Game takes place on Friday, February 16 in Pyeongchang, South Korea)

Time: 10:10 p.m. ET 

TV: CNBC

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com

Odds to win tournament (via OddsShark): United States (+900; Bet $100 to win $900); Slovakia (+6,600)

         

How Do Americans Bounce Back from Slovenia Loss?

Let’s start with the positives gained from the loss to Slovenia because there were plenty of them, at least through two periods.

The Americans amassed a 2-0 lead after two periods behind goals from Brian O’Neill and Jordan Greenway and came up with a few solid defensive plays to preserve the shutout.

Granato effused praise about his team’s play in the first and second periods on Wednesday but was critical of the third-period performance, per USAHockey.com.

"I thought we played two great periods," Granato said. “We were on our heels in the third at times and they took advantage. Give them credit. All-in-all, I liked the way we played. We’ve got a terrific group and we’ll be ready to play Slovakia."

The key for the Americans going into Thursday’s game with Slovakia is to use the experience from the first two periods to keep up confidence while correcting the mistakes that occurred in the third period and overtime.

O’Neill said after the loss that the team, who hasn’t played much together, will use the Slovenia game as a learning experience, per AP’s Stephen Whyno.

"We’ll learn from this," O’Neill said. "We haven’t played a whole lot of hockey as a team together. So it’s good for us to learn from that third period."

Getting out to a fast start is imperative for the Americans as they need to thwart the momentum Slovakia carries into the contest following its win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

If the Americans let the loss to Slovenia linger, it could spell bad news for a team that can ill afford another headline-making defeat at the Olympics.

      

Slovakia Searching for Another Surprise Victory

Slovakia threw everyone’s predictions into the trash with a 3-2 victory over tournament favorite Olympic Athletes from Russia on Wednesday.

Peter Ceresnak scored the game-winning goal in the third period for Slovakia to top Group B after one set of contests.

Ceresnak told reporters after the game that the victory is just the first surprise in a tournament full of the unexpected, per Reuters’ Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber.

"This will help us win the next matches," Ceresnak said. "This is a tournament of big surprises."

With confidence at an all-time high, Slovakia is out to prove the win over the Russians wasn’t a fluke and that it can be a surprise medal contender.

Veterans Peter Olvecky and Martin Bakos scored a goal each in the first period of Wednesday’s win, and they’ll be two of the players the American defense has to keep an eye on as Slovakia attempts to get out to another fast start.

If Slovakia has the same effectiveness in the first period against the Americans as it did in its opening game of the competition, it could jump out to an early lead, possibly one of the multiple-goal variety.

Conversely, if the Americans limit Slovakia’s production in the attacking zone for the first 20 minutes, we could be in for a defensive stalemate.

     

Pick

United States 2, Slovakia 1

Putting faith in the United States after the loss to Slovenia is a risk, but look for the Americans to rally around each other and pull off a victory with first place in Group B in sight.

      

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Olympic.org.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

February 14, 2018 at 02:31PM

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