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The big problem for USA hockey at Olympics? Too many old guys, not enough Troy Terry

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — For the Americans to win the Olympic hockey tournament, coach Tony Granato might well need a miracle and find a way to clone Troy Terry.

“It was exciting to get out on the ice, representing the USA in the Olympics. But it would’ve been better if we won,” Terry said Wednesday, after the men of the United States blew a two-goal lead during the third period and lost 3-2 to Slovenia in overtime.

Yeah, I don’t believe it, either. Nothing against Slovenia, a country with a population of barely more than 2 million, but most of us couldn’t find it on a map. This loss was disgraceful.

At age 20, Terry is the youngest player on the U.S. squad. But the University of Denver star is without question among biggest offensive talents at the disposal of Granato. Terry’s puck-handling often dazzled Slovenia’s physical defenders, but his passes to the front of the net often were botched by slow-reacting teammates.

Instead of skating confidently with a 2-0 lead built on early goals by Brian O’Neill and Boston University’s Jordan Greenway, the Americans stopped moving in the third period and blinked. With leaden legs of a team that looked emotionally spent after being hyped all day for puck drop at 9:10 p.m., the U.S. defenders were caught flat-footed when Slovenian captain Jan Mursak poked in a juicy rebound past goalie Ryan Zapolski to tie the score only 97 seconds before the end of regulation time.

“There is no real pressure on us, no real big expectations. We just come out here and give it our all and have fun,” said Mursak, the lone Slovenian player with NHL experience, with a scant 46 appearances for the Detroit Red Wings from 2010-13.

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