Slovakia stuns United States with dramatic shootout win in Olympic quarterfinals

The top-seeded team in the men’s hockey tournament will not get a chance to play for a medal.

The United States — which finished with the best record in round-robin play — was eliminated with a thrilling 3-2 shootout loss to Slovakia in Wednesday’s first quarterfinal game at the Beijing Olympics.

Slovakia forced overtime with a goal from captain Marek Hrivík in the final minute of regulation. Both teams had plenty of chances in the 10-minute overtime but a shootout goal from Peter Cehlárik was the difference, giving Slovakia the win.

Slovakia took the early lead with a goal from Juraj Slafkovský — a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft — midway through the first.

Nick Abruzzese — a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect currently playing for Harvard — tied the game at 1-1 in the final minute of the frame. Minnesota Wild prospect Sam Hentges then gave the U.S. the lead with a goal midway through the second that nearly proved to be the winner.

The loss marks the third consecutive Olympics the United States will not earn a medal since claiming silver in a thrilling final vs. Canada at the 2010 Games. Slovakia returns to the medal round for the first time since 2010 when the late Pavol Demitra helped them upset Sweden in the quarterfinals.

Slovakia (8) is the first team through to the semifinals, which will feature reseeded matchups. The other quarterfinals are Russia (3) vs. Denmark (7), Finland (2) vs. Switzerland (6) and Sweden (4) vs. Canada (5).

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