By @MichaelCaples –
The U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team’s journey in PyeongChang has come to a close – in heartbreaking fashion.
With a shootout loss to the Czech Republic, Team USA has been eliminated from the 2018 Games in the quarterfinals.
The Americans couldn’t find a way to beat Czech goaltender Pavel Francouz, who stopped all five shooters in the penalty-shot sessions.
Petr Koukal scored the lone goal for the Czech Republic in the third round of the shootout, slipping the puck through the five hole of U.S. goaltender Ryan Zapolski.
Lapeer native Jim Slater scored his first goal of the tournament – a shorthanded strike that evened the game at 2-2 in the second period. Ryan Donato scored the other goal in regulation for Team USA.
“I thought for the better part of the second period, probably 12 minutes or so, they had us back on our heels,” U.S. captain Brian Gionta said in his postgame interview with Pierre McGuire on CNBC. “I thought we did a good job in the last eight minutes of the second period getting pressure. Obviously the shorthanded goal helped, and then from there, it was just an even match-up until then. We had some chances we could have buried, but for the most part, it was a back-and-forth game.”