From there, Slovenia had the better of the play, finally forging a tie when Jan Mursak scored from right in front of USA goalie Ryan Zapolski with 1:37 left and the Slovenian goalie pulled for an extra attacker.
The Americans built a 2-0 lead on goals by Brian O'Neill, a former player at Yale who now plays for Jokerit in the KHL, and Jordan Greenway.
For many hockey fans around the country, the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship is one of the most important hockey tournaments known to man.
With under two minutes left in the third, Slovenia pulled its goalie, Gasper Kroselj, and Mursak scored to tie the game at 2.
The decision to have National Hockey League players sit out the Olympics for the first time since 1994 obviously makes this tournament significantly more unpredictable, but it's still fairly safe to say that this opening game is one that will help Tony Granato's squad get Group Play started on the right foot.
Slovenia took just three shots in the first period but continued to create more chances for itself as the game progressed.
Team USA's debut in the 2018 Winter Olympics degenerated into a nightmare.
With some pressure on, after a penalty to US captain Brian Gionta, Slovenia pulled their goalie for an extra attacker.
But it was a day for Mursak and Slovenia.
Blaz Gregorc, who had a goal and an assist for Slovenia, fired shot on goal from the point. All four have significant worldwide experience, but Terry is probably the most recognizable name as he was the hero who scored the shootout-winning goal in the gold medal game at last year's World Junior Championships.
The United States could be poised to finally end Canada's run of four straight Olympic gold medals, with Wednesday's game serving as a litmus test for where both teams stand entering the medal round.
In Wednesday's game, the USA got goals from Brian O'Neill and Boston University's Jordan Greenway.
"I'm proud of my guys, I'm proud of the team", said Mursak, who played sporadically with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings between 2010 and 2012.
Team USA's next preliminary round game will be against Slovakia at 10:10 p.m ET Thursday night in the United States (12:10 p.m. on Friday in PyeongChang).