US rip Slovakia to reach Olympic ice hockey quarters

USA routs Slovakia to reach Olympic men's hockey quarter-finals

It was a hockey game the United States had to have and they got it with a resounding 5-1 victory over Slovakia. Scoring five against the team Granato called perhaps the best defensive team in the tournament has the Americans feeling good going into the quarterfinals.

Yet any exhaustion the former Bruin might have felt between quickly gave way to exhilaration, courtesy of the play of Ryan Donato, Ted and Jeannine's 21-year-old son, otherwise known as Team USA's breakout star. "If we had played on our heels and played anxious, it would have affected our game", Donato said. With the US holding a comfortable lead late in the third period, the 21-year-old scored on a wrist shot from the left side to put the icing on Team USA's 5-1 win.

To beat Slovakia again and challenge for a medal, it's time for Team USA's veterans to take charge and contribute on the scoresheet. Ryan Zapolski is his GUY in goal.

Zapolski allowed four goals against the Russians and it would be devastating if he would not be able to stop the Slovaks. The U.S., behind goalie Ray LeBlanc, went 4-0-1 in group play and beat host France in the quarterfinals.

Sporting News is providing live scoring updates and highlights.

Tough spot for US coach Tony Granato.

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The game was scoreless until Ryan Donato and James Wisniewski scored 44 seconds apart in the first 2 ½ minutes of the second period. Defenseman Michal Cajkovsky elbowed Donato in the head and received a match penalty for the infraction. If the USA wins Wednesday, it will advance to face either Norway or the Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation. Lots of power-play time coming for the U.S. They'll start with a 5-on-3 for two minutes.

As a matter of fact, each of Slovakia's six goals has been scored by a different player, as Andrej Kudrna, Peter Ceresnak, Milos Bubela, Martin Bakos, Marcel Hascak, and Peter Olvecky have outplayed an opposing goalkeeper.

There are no NHL players at this year's Winter Games, after the league and Olympics officials could not agree on terms. He collects a turnover in the neutral zone and almost breaks away, falling to the ice and crashing into Jan Laco before he could get a shot away.

"The chemistry and the message that our players were able to send, that sports transcends the barriers, they did a great job". Both goals came against Slovakia. Little-known Czech goaltender Pavel Francouz did his best impression of legendary countryman Dominik Hasek by stopping Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler in the shootout, sending the Czechs on to the semifinals on Friday - and sending the Americans home.

"It's tough to kind of go that way I think to end an Olympic tournament", said Zapolski, who made 27 saves on 29 shots in regulation and overtime.

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