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Bulldogs Bark in Near Upset of Czechs

Brian O'Neill Made a great pass to set up the final U.S. goal (Emily Jensen image)
Brian O'Neill Made a great pass to set up the final U.S. goal (Emily Jensen image)

U.S. Eliminated After 3-2 Loss


GANGNEUNG, South Korea — They played so well and came so close to helping the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team register a quarterfinals upset. Brian O'Neill '12, Mark Arcobello '10 and Broc Little '11 all played prominent roles in a 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic that ended in a 1-0 shootout.

O'Neill assisted on the equalizer and final Team USA goal that eventually sent the contest to a very exciting overtime.

Ryan Donato and Jim Slater scored at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in the finale for the Americans. 

"The one thing that we wanted to make sure of when we came into this tournament is that when it ended we'd be proud of how we represented our country," said Tony Granato, head coach of the U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. "I'm very proud of how we competed and how we played and how we represented our country from the start of the tournament to the end of it."

The game started with the U.S. successfully defending an early Czech power play behind a series of big saves by Ryan Zapolski (Erie, Pa.) before Donato was able to give Team USA a 1-0 lead 6:20 into play. With both teams back at even strength, Troy Terry (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) collected the puck at center ice and skated into the Czech zone where he curled back to find Donato at the top of the left circle for a wrist shot that beat Pavel Francouz lower blocker side.

Jan Kolar converted a slap shot above the left circle with 4:48 remaining in the opening frame to even the score entering the first intermission.

In the middle stanza, the Czechs took a 2-1 lead at the 8:14 mark when Tomas Kundratek beat Zapolski blocker side with a slap shot from the left circle.

Team USA responded 2:09 later when Slater beat Francouz with a shorthanded tally from the left faceoff dot. The play started when O'Neill won a puck battle along the boards in the U.S. zone and forwarded a centering pass to Slater, who broke in on goal and fired a shot above Francouz's blocker for the tying score. The teams remained knotted, 2-2, after 40 minutes.

The third period saw both teams trade chances in search of the go-ahead goal. With 12:10 left in regulation, the United States earned a power play that resulted in shots from both Chris Bourque and James Wisniewski sail just wide as the game remained tied entering the final 10 minutes.

O'Neill nearly regained Team USA's lead with just over two minutes remaining when his high-rising wrist shot beat Francouz but rang off the crossbar and away from goal.

The score stayed tied as the teams entered a 10-minute four-on-four overtime period with the U.S. having 43 seconds left on the power play.

In the extra frame, both teams traded chances but neither could find the game-winner as the contest entered a five-round shootout.

There, Zapolski stopped four of five Czech shots, but Team USA was unable to beat Francouz as the Czechs earned the 3-2 victory.