Next up for Team USA is a faceoff with rival Canada, which won the gold in the 2014 Sochi Games. The Americans are firmly among the top half of the 12 teams involved.
"Once we scored the first goal we really started to fly on the ice", Mursak told NBC's Pierre McGuire after the game. Even though the USA holds an 11-4 shot total, Slovenia skated with them much of the period and, lest we forget, this one could be tied right now. Goals from Brian O'Neill and Jordan Greenway helped the Americans build a 2-0 lead. Ceresnak's slap shot from the point found twine to capitalize on a power play and give his team a third-period lead against the gold-medal favorites.
Chad Kolarik (Abington) and Brian O'Neill (Yardley) will be donning the red, white and blue with every intention of bringing home a medal, even if no one is expecting them to do so.
Mursak also scored the tying goal when Slovenia pulled its goalie with 1:38 remaining in the third period.
The latter still recalls waiting around for that phone call after playing in a tryout tournament overseas in which the Team USA officials spent much time scouting. USA blew a two-goal lead in the third period and Jan Mursak, the lone Slovenian with National Hockey League experience, scores the game-winner. Though the USA women are defending world champs, the Canadians bring a 22-game Olympic winning streak into the contest.
That's because five players on the team's roster of 23 are from the Jesuit-run school - two are recent graduates and three are current students taking a leave of absence for the Pyeongchang Games. They'll need plenty of that to take down Canada. "John's take: "[Carl] is a big, strong guy [who] can skate well. He goes to the net.
Only once has a team other than the US or Canada made the Olympic or Worlds title games.
Fortunately for Russian Federation and the USA, all 12 teams advance beyond the group stage to the single-elimination portion of the tournament, but group play determines seeding; the victor of each group, plus the highest ranking runner-up, earn a first-round bye. Mueller is just three goals shy from the single Olympic record of nine goals.