Ryan Donato’s two-goal effort helped Team USA earn their first win in PyeongChang, defeating Slovakia 2-1.
After learning a hard lesson in its opening game vs. Slovenia, the Americans did not sit back and watch the clock while protecting a third-period lead. Instead, they attacked, skated with confidence and prohibited the opponent from tallying the late equalizer.
Ryan Zapolski made 21 saves and Chris Bourque added two assists.
Donato’s second power-play goal and eventual game winner came at 2:51 of the third period when the collegiate athlete neatly tucked in a backhand from the top of the crease. Mark Arcobello also assisted on the play.
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead when Donato, a forward for Harvard University and Boston Bruins prospect, connected on the power play. Troy Terry dangled his way into the offensive zone and left a drop pass for a trailing Donato at 7:10 of the opening period.
However, just 35 seconds later the Slovakia’s Andrej Kurdna knotted the score at one on with a sharp redirection that Zapolski will want back.
But the well-traveled American goaltender got his chance for revenge, with several crucial stops late in the second period. Jordan Greenway, the first African American hockey player to represent the U.S. at the Winter Games, was penalized for goaltender interference. But Zapolski proved to be the best penalty killer.
Slovakia will face Slovenia next, after splitting its first two games of the preliminary round. Team USA will face the tournament favorite, the Olympic Athletes from Russia.