Former Red Wing Burns US Men's Hockey Team In Olympic Opener

Jim Johannson died at 53 a few weeks before the start of the Olympics Paul Sancya  AP

Jim Johannson died at 53 a few weeks before the start of the Olympics Paul Sancya AP

For 40 minutes things went swimmingly for the star-less US men's hockey team in its Olympic opener against Slovenia.

The United States had a 2-0 lead entering the third period thanks to goals by Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway. He was on the ice for Slovenia's first goal, but not the final two.

Slovenia woke up in the third and dominated the first six minutes, leading to a Blaz Gregorc goal that cut the lead in half.

The Boston University standout, who's the first African American player to represent the men's ice hockey at the Olympics, found a loose puck amid a scrum in front of Slovenian netminder Gasper Kroselj and tapped it home to make it 2-0. Their opponents took advantage of the Americans' sloppiness as Jan Urbas got Slovenia on the board with 15 minutes left to play in the frame. Captain Brian Gionta spent 15 years in the National Hockey League with the New Jersey Devils, Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres, racking up 289 goals and 299 assists, while James Wisniewski is a veteran defenseman who also spent more than a decade in the National Hockey League.

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The U.S. defenseman Matt Gilroy blocked an initial pass from Rok Ticar to Mursak.

"It was exciting to get my first, but it would have been much better to get a win tonight", said Greenway, one of four American college players in the US team. "It's a good team, I'll give them credit".

"I'm proud of my guys, I'm proud of the team", said Mursak, who played sporadically with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings between 2010 and 2012. He scored his first goal against the Avalanche, January 10, 2011.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Granato said he saw no need to screen the film "Miracle" before his team plays its Olympic opener on Wednesday against Slovenia at Kwandong Hockey Center.

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Returning to the lineup later in the season, he had trouble finding any playing time, the Red Wings put him on waivers and Mursak signed with Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL.

Up next for the Americans is Slovakia in another preliminary game.

The broadcast is on CNBC.

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