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.
View social media post: https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/1493805521664622599
17:55 - Slovakia is coached by Craig Ramsay, who spent 14 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres before spending parts of four seasons as a head coach for three different teams (Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, Atlanta Thrashers). The Slovak Ice Hockey Federation hired him in August 2017.
19:15 - GOAL! USA 1-1. Nick Abruzzese ties it up for the U.S. After Slovakia had a chance denied by Mann, the Americans transitioned up ice thanks to Kenny Agostino driving the puck into the Slovak zone. Some quick passing between Agostino, Steven Kampfer, and finally, Matty Beniers, ended with Abruzzese beating Patrik Rybár five hole.
View social media post: https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/1493808627353800709
20:00 - End of one period and this game is tied at one apiece. This is now three games in a row where the U.S. has surrendered the opening goal only to even the score later in the first period.
0:00 - The second period has begun. The final few minutes of the opening 20 minutes were eventful. It is the U.S. on top in the shot count 10-8 with the score tied 1-1.
4:52 - Slovakia continuing to push the play early in the middle period. Head coach Craig Ramsay has been trying to catch the U.S. off-guard by putting out Juraj Slafkovský's line against the fourth line of the Americans. These are the little games played between head coaches. U.S. head coach David Quinn manages to get the line of Kenny Agostino, Andy Miele, Brian O'Neill out against the threatening trio on Slovakia.
6:53 - After a 10-8 edge in shots in the first period, Slovakia has taken seven of the first eight in the second period.
8:56 - GOAL! USA 2-1. The U.S. managed to force a turnover in their defensive zone and transitioned up ice with numbers. Some more nice passing as Nathan Smith finds Nick Perbix, who then feeds Sam Hentges in front to give the Americans the lead. The goal is Hentges' first of the tournament.
View social media post: https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/1493816105634250755
10:00 - This is only Hentges' second game of the tournament after he was scratched for their opening two games. The St. Cloud State senior was taken in the seventh round of the 2018 NHL Draft by the Minnesota Wild.
10:45 - U.S. forward Brian O'Neill, the only player who was one the 2018 roster in PyeongChang, goes off the ice limping after blocking a shot with his skate. He is being tended to on the bench.
14:35 - Both teams are assessed penalties as Matty Beniers and Libor Hudáček both go off for slashing. The teams will play 4-on-4 for the next two minutes.
15:56 - Three straight shots on net for Slovakia's Peter Čerešňák, but none can get behind U.S. netminder Strauss Mann.
16:25 - The penalties have expired and we're back to 5-on-5 hockey.
19:01 - The U.S. is going to the power play as Slovakia is called for a delay of game penalty after the puck is shot out of play in the Slovakia zone. Their power play is 3-for-10 in this tournament over four games.
20:00 - Forty minutes down and the U.S. holds a 2-1 lead over Slovakia in this first quarterfinal of the Olympic men's tournament. The U.S. will start the third period a 1:01 of power play time. Slovakia leads 21-16 in shots.
0:00 - The U.S. is 20 minutes away from its first trip to the Olympic semifinals since the Sochi Games in 2014. It was there they dropped a 1-0 game to Canada, who would go on to win the gold medal. The Americans had previously reached the semifinal round in 2010 and 2002, with both ending in defeats to Canada in the gold medal game.
0:20 - A bunch of beauties taking in the U.S.-Slovakia matchup:
View social media post: https://twitter.com/TeamShuster/status/1493818171005931523
1:01 - Slovakia kills off the remaining 61 seconds of the U.S. power play to start the period.
2:07 - U.S. forward Brian O'Neill, who left the ice in the second period after taking a shot off the skate, is questionable to return to the game.
3:59 - A penalty is called against Martin Gernat for tripping. A real good chance for the U.S. to double the lead in the final period.
4:37 - Now Slovak goaltender Patrik Rybár is given a delay of game penalty for covering the puck up outside of his crease. David Quinn calls timeout as the U.S. prepares to go on a 5-on-3 power play.
6:50 - Slovakia kills off the 5-on-3. The U.S. continued moving the puck around the offensive zone, but were unable to cash in after several chances. Brendan Brisson had the best opportunity but his wrist shot was denied by Rybár's glove.
8:08 - Matty Beniers wired a shot off the crossbar as the U.S. is slowly taking control of this game. The score remains 2-1 in the Americans' favor, so every missed opportunity leaves the door open for Slovakia to get back into the game.
11:38 - Slafkovský hits the post and a follow up is stopped by U.S. net minder Strauss Mann. The 17-year-old Slovak has been noticeable in each game this tournament and will make an NHL very happy some day.
15:05 - Slovakia is pressing now hoping to get that first goal that will lead to another. Their sustained pressures in the U.S. zone doesn't lead to any Grade A chances, however. Under five minutes to play now.
15:39 - Samuel Takac takes a high-sticking call with 4:21 to play. Tough sledding ahead for Slovakia now.
17:40 - Slovakia kills it off, but the U.S. did a good job of milking the time off that man advantage. They kept the puck to the outside of the Slovak zone for most of the two minutes.
18:27 - Time out Slovakia and they will resume the game with an empty net down 2-1.
19:17 - GOAL! SLOVAKIA 2-2. Marek Hrivík ties the game at 2-2 as a point shot gets deflected on the way through and Hrivík is there to poke it home.
View social media post: https://twitter.com/NBCOlympics/status/1493833711992946692
20:00 - And we'll head to 10 minutes of 3-on-3 overtime to decide who will advance to the semifinal round.
0:00 - If the U.S. loses this game they will rue the missed opportunities to push Slovakia away. They are hoping the multiple power plays that saw way too many shots miss the net won't come back to haunt them.
0:25 - Should no team score over these next 10 minutes then we're off to a shootout to decide a winner.
3:07 - Some good scoring chances from both few in the first few minutes of overtime, as you'd expect from 3-on-3 hockey. Neither team are being hesitant given the amount of ice that's been freed up with four fewer skaters.
6:25 - Plenty of back-and-forth opportunities. Matty Beniers and Libor Hudáček have had the best chances of the extra period but Strauss Mann and Patrik Rybár continue to be stellar to keep their team's in it.
9:15 - For all the rightful praise of Slafkovský, Beniers has been a standout player for the U.S. The first-ever Seattle Kraken draft pick has continued to create opportunities in this game and has had three alone in this overtime.
10:00 - We will need a shootout to determine which team will move on to the semifinal round. The U.S. was eliminated via the shootout against the Czech Republic during the 2018 Olympic quarterfinals in PyeongChang.
The shootout will be best-of-five. If the score remains tied through five rounds, the teams will go to a tiebreak where coaches can select the same player as many times as they'd like.
U.S. - NO GOAL, Brendan Brisson
Slovakia - NO GOAL, Libor Hudáček
ROUND 2 (0-0)
U.S. - NO GOAL, Sean Farrell
Slovakia - NO GOAL, Michal Čajkovský
ROUND 3 (0-0)
U.S. - NO GOAL, Matt Knies
Slovakia - NO GOAL, Michal Krištof
ROUND 4 (0-0)
U.S. - NO GOAL, Nathan Smith
Slovakia - GOAL, Peter Cehlárik
ROUND 5 (1-0 SLO)