USA loses to Slovakia in quarterfinals upset at Olympics


In case you’re wondering about the former Ranger coach, David Quinn had guided Team USA to a perfect record in Olympic preliminary action. They even beat Canada to earn the top seed in the elimination round.

None of that mattered. USA was upset by Slovakia 3-2 in a shootout to lose in cruel fashion in the Olympic quarterfinals in Beijing. While I haven’t actively followed the tournament, I was well aware that the group of Americans that featured several younger college prospects had done well.

That all ended on Wednesday. USA blew a 3-2 lead by giving up a late Slovakia goal that forced overtime. Following a scoreless OT, the game went to a shootout. Under Olympic rules, it’s five shooters just like soccer.

The problem was nobody could beat the Slovakian goalie. All it took was one goal in the fourth round and one more save to send a heartbroken American team home without a medal.

In the tell me where you’ve seen this before moment, here was some reaction to Quinn’s choice of shooters.

Matty Beniers is one of the best prospects in all of hockey. Having represented USA Hockey at the prestigious U20 World Junior Championships where he helped them beat Canada to win gold last year, it’s unfathomable that he wasn’t used by Quinn under the circumstances.

The Seattle Kraken first round pick has a bright future. He’s had a great year producing well for Michigan. While the less won’t have any long-term affect on the future top Kraken center, it had to be frustrating watching from the bench as five teammates were turned away.

In regards to Quinn, this is nothing new. He would frequently punish young players during his three years as Rangers coach. If they made a mistake, they’d be on the fourth line. Something that was frustrating.

While it’s true this was an entirely different situation, I can’t understand how Quinn didn’t use Beniers among the shooters. But what do I know. He made the decision. It’s an awful way to lose a big game. Especially knowing that they had opportunities to put it away in the third on the power play.

I don’t wish failure on Quinn, who is a good hockey man. But I wonder what’s next for him. Until then, there will always be this.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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