Can college kids lift U.S. men into medal round?

From ESPN - February 20, 2018

A recap of the Pyeongchang men's and women's hockey tournaments, with a focus on Team USA's gold-medal quests.

Three Stars

1. Lars Haugen, G, Norway

The Norwegians won their first Olympic hockey game since 1994 with a 2-1, come-from-behind overtime victory against Slovenia, thanks to 33 saves from Haugen. Slovenia outshot Norway 16-9 in the first period alone. While Slovenia was a Cinderella team in this tournament, including an upset of the U.S., Norway is equally compelling. The country is a powerhouse in most winter Olympic sports, but not hockey (consider that the New York Rangers' Mats Zuccarello is only the seventh Norwegian to make the NHL and also the country's all-time leading scorer). Norway can go for a bigger upset if it knocks off the Russians in the quarterfinals. This is the farthest Norway has ever advanced in the Olympic tournament.

2. Ryan Donato, F, USA

The Boston Bruins prospect and Harvard student tallied two goals as the U.S. turned in its most complete performance in a 5-1 must-win game over Slovakia in the qualifying round. After a scoreless first, Donato struck in the second period to open up scoring -- his third-consecutive goal for Team USA -- and then again late in the third period on the power play. His four goals are tied for the tournament lead; it also ties him with his father, Ted Donato, for Olympic scoring (the elder Donato had four goals and three assists for the U.S. in 1992). Ted Donato, a former Bruins player and current Harvard coach, arrived in Pyeongchang just in time to see this game.

3. Yannic Seidenberg, F, Germany

The 34-year-old sniped a dramatic overtime winner for a tight, 2-1 victory over Switzerland in the qualification round. Seidenberg, who has played in Europe his entire career, is the younger brother of Islanders defenseman Dennis Seidenberg Germany did not qualify for the Sochi Olympics, but rebounded in a big way in these Games by advancing to the quarterfinals, where they will face Sweden.

What's up with the U.S. men's team?

The Americans are finally getting some offense -- and the scoring is coming when it counts. Coach Tony Granato's team scored five goals against Slovakia in the win-or-go-home qualifying round, which is more goals than Team USA scored in all three preliminary-round games (four). While Donato has been the breakout star of this tournament, kudos should also go to Denver player and Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry (three assists against Slovenia). In fact, it feels like the college kids have an outsized presence on this team; Boston University's Jordan Greenway has also played strong. We are also seeing some other roster decisions pay off, such as adding James Wisniewski simply as a power play specialist. He's not logging 5-on-5 shifts, but he ripped a one-timer on the man-advantage for the U.S.'s second goal against Slovenia).

What's up with the U.S. women's team?

Controversy of the day

Ziga Jeglic, a Slovenian hockey player, was suspended from the Olympics for doping. The 29-year-old did not play in Slovenia's 2-1 loss to Norway in the qualifying round. His teammates, including captain Jan Mursak, said they were "shocked" by the development. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Ziga Jeglic was tested on Thursday, and the results came positive for Fenoterol, a drug that helps open up the airway to lungs. Jeglic released a statement, saying: "I take the mentioned drug due to asthma under medical advice. It has been prescribed to me after testing for respiratory problems in Slovakia in 2017. Unfortunately I have forgot to declare it as exception." Jeglic is the third athlete to be sent home for doping during these Games, following a Japanese speedskater and a Russian curler.

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