The U.S. men’s hockey team is set to play its first elimination game against a Slovakian squad fresh off a big victory over the Czechs in the playoff qualifier. The Slovaks may not be favored to make a deep run, but with up-and-coming youngster Juraj Slafkovský in the fold, anything is possible.
This game can be streamed on NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock, and it is televised nationally on USA Network at 11:10 p.m. ET.
Follow the action below with live updates throughout the quarterfinal tilt between the U.S. and Slovakia.
The U.S. and Slovakia meet tonight at the Beijing National Indoor Stadium for a quarterfinal matchup in the men’s tournament. The winner of this game will advance to the semifinals and face the winner of Canada vs. Sweden.
On Tuesday, Slovakia blanked Germany 4-0 in the qualification round to get this far in the Olympic tournament. The U.S. went 3-0-0-0 in the preliminary round to earn a bye to the quarterfinals. They last played on Sunday, beating Germany 3-2.
U.S. head coach David Quinn was pleased with the performance to wrap up the preliminary round.
“I thought that was our best game of the tournament,” Quinn said. “We played with speed, skill and tenacity against a very good German team.”
American forward Sean Farrell, a 2020 fourth-round draft pick by the Montreal Canadiens, leads all men’s players with six points (three goals, three assists). 17-year-old Slovakian forward Juraj Slafkovský, a 2022 NHL Draft prospect, is tied for the tournament lead in goals with four.
The winner of this game will face the winner of lowest remaining seed in the semifinals. Canada plays Sweden, Finland takes on Switzerland and ROC meets Denmark in the other quarterfinal matchups.
“We accomplished all we could have to this point and that’s great,” Quinn said, “but that’s not what our ultimate goal was coming here and we’ve got an important challenge ahead today on our journey.”
0:00 – We’re under way between the U.S. and Slovakia. A note for the Americans: Strauss Mann is in net for the U.S. He made 35 saves in their 4-2 preliminary round win over Canada. Defenseman Jake Sanderson is out for tonight’s game. He was injured in that win over Canada and did not play in Sunday’s final group game against Germany.
3:53 – The U.S. is being aggressive on the forecheck and pressuring Slovakia well. They’ve earned the first five shots of the game and limiting their opponents’ chances.
5:12 – Slovakia sports two young players who NHL fans will hear a lot about in the coming months. Juraj Slafkovský and Šimon Nemec are expected to be selected high during the July NHL Draft in Montreal. Slafkovský, a 17-year-old forward, has four goals in the tournament so far while Nemec, a defenseman has an assist through four games. Nemec, 18, is coming off an IIHF World Junior Championship where he led Slovakia in scoring with four points in five games.
11:45 – GOAL! SLOVAKIA 1-0. Slafkovský nets his fifth Olympic goal and continues carrying the offensive load for his country. After the puck got in deep behind the U.S. net, three Americans were caught down low, leaving Slafkovský wide open between the face-off circles. He had plenty of time to set up and fire a wrist shot over Mann’s glove to open the scoring.
13:15 – During the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, hockey fans got to see Kirill Kaprizov in action. The Minnesota Wild prospect finished second in scoring for the Olympic Athletes of Russia with five goals and nine points. His fifth goal came in overtime of the gold medal game against Germany. In Beijing, it’s been the Juraj Slafkovský show, and while he’s not a part of an NHL team just yet, you can be sure his draft stock is rising among the scouting community.
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