By: Will Burchfield
The United States men’s hockey team looked to have a win wrapped up in its Olympic opener in Pyeongchang.
Along came Slovenia’s Jan Mursak.
Mursak, a Red Wings draft pick who played for the team for parts of three seasons, scored the game-tying goal late in the third and then netted the game-winner in overtime to lift Slovenia to a surprising 3-2 win over the U.S. on Wednesday morning.
The U.S. had heavily outplayed Slovenia through the first 40 minutes and led 2-0 entering the third. Slovenia drew within one about five minutes into the final period and then dialed up the heat. Mursak tied the game on a rebound goal with 1:37 to play.
38 seconds into overtime, he struck again.
Mursak, who now plays for Frolunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League, was selected by the Red Wings in the sixth round of the 2006 NHL Draft. After four seasons with the AHL Griffins, he made his Red Wings debut in the 2010-11 season. He scored one goal in 19 games.
Mursak played 25 games for Detroit in 2011-12 and two more in 2012-13. He finished his Red Wings career with four points in 46 games before moving to the KHL.
In Wednesday’s game, the U.S. got goals from Brian O’Neill and Boston University’s Jordan Greenway. The Americans will return to the ice on Thursday night versus Slovakia before taking on the Olympic Athletes from Russia Saturday morning.
The Olympics are without NHL players for the first time since 1994.