'They're fearless': College players lift United States men's hockey into Olympic quarterfinals

Olympics Ice Hockey Men Team Group B- USA-SLO

Olympics Ice Hockey Men Team Group B- USA-SLO

The Americans (2-1-1) will play the Czech Republic (3-0) Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. (10:10 p.m. Tuesday ET).

Slovakia responded 26 seconds later with a body-slamming retaliation sequence as Michal Cajkovsky was sent off for 25 minutes for a blow to Donato's head at the same time Ladislav Nagy was whistled for flattening United States goaltender Ryan Zapolski.

"My hands and feet went numb a little bit, so it just kind of pinched my nerve, I guess", Zapolski said.

"It doesn't matter what the other team does, we have to attack and get in on the forecheck and use our offensive players that we do have and the skill set that we do have", Granato said. While Slovenia was a Cinderella team in this tournament, including an upset of the U.S., Norway is equally compelling.

Zapolski is among the best goaltenders in the Kontinental Hockey League but conceded "maybe things weren't going the way I had hoped the first few games" when he allowed a few soft goals. It took a little bit.

"We came in with the intention of being confident, not just being anxious about going home", said Donato.

Donato, who also scored two goals in a group play match against Slovakia, now has four goals in four Olympic games, tying him for the scoring lead in Pyeonchang with Ilya Kovalchuk and Kiril Kaprizov of the Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation. 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).

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Mark Arcobello scored at the 33:30 mark of the second period to make the score 3-0.

Scoring five goals against the team coach Tony Granato called perhaps the best defensive team in the tournament has the Americans feeling good going into the quarterfinals. They also have Michal Repik, who leads the team with three goals and four points, and Michal Birner, who leads the team with three assists. On the other hand, if Zapolski holds down the fort until the USA can find its legs and get the lead, it will force the Czechs to open up their game. "So we have a lot of belief in our team and we're excited to keep going".

"There's some different weapons that we'll have to be aware of", Granato said. "We're small, quick and tough to play against in the offensive zone".

The United States had a 1-1-1 record in Group B play, beating Slovakia, losing to Slovenia in overtime and getting blanked 4-0 by the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation.

Later games pit Finland against South Korea, the victor facing two-time defending champion Canada in a quarter-final, and Switzerland against Germany, with the victor meeting unbeaten Sweden on Wednesday.

- Finland played South Korea, with the victor advancing to take on Canada.

Team USA and the Czech Republic met at the corresponding stage in Sochi four years ago, with the Americans emerging 5-2 winners on their way to a semi-final reverse against Canada. Slovakia goalie Jan Laco pushed the shot away, but the puck got pushed back up to Donato in the lower left circle for the shot and score. Former NHL player and coach Craig Ramsay coaches Slovakia.

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