Czechs win 3-2 in shootout over Team Canada at Pyeongchang Olympics
- Author: Steve Townsend Feb 18, 2018,
Feb 18, 2018, 6:04
Hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics continues with some Group A action between Canada and the Czech Republic on Friday, February 16.
Rene Bourque and Wojtek Wolski scored two goals each and Ben Scrivens made 28 saves, giving Hockey Canada a flawless start to its first Olympic campaign without NHL participation since Lillehammer '94.
Canada came into the game 13-13-1 against the Czech Republic in Olympic and world championship play but had won the last five meetings and eight of the last 10.
That means both teams get a spot directly in the tournament semi-finals and three days off before their next games while Finland, the Olympic Athletes from Russia, Switzerland and Sweden battle it out in the quarter-final round.
Canada coach Willie Desjardins was pleased with his team's performance despite the result.
Wojtek Wolski scored for Canada but Koukal lifted a backhand shot over Scrivens to level after two rounds.
The advantage is going to Canada in this matchup because the Czech Republic wasn't truly tested in their game against South Korea.
The Czechs fought back again, levelling inside the first minute of the second period. "It was the game we expected", he said. "Lots of parts of our game were good".
"Now we move ahead". It will need a much better effort against the Canadians, but has the offensive firepower to make a game of it in what will be the marquee matchup of Group A. Canada will also look to tighten up the penalty kill, which allowed one goal on three Swiss chances.
Mason Raymond and Bourque have moved the ropes for Canada in the first period, which ended its preliminary round against South Korea, Sunday. Dominik Kubalik tied things up for the Czechs at 6:52 in the same period.
Though the game was entertaining throughout, it wasn't exactly a smoothly played game by either team with extended periods of puck possession at a minimum.
"It was one of those bounces that didn't go our way tonight, and hopefully we can get those bounces later in the tournament".
Two saves later, Noreau had to score to keep Canada alive.
It was the Czechs' first Olympic triumph over Canada since 1998 in Nagano - a 2-1 shootout win in the semifinal when coach Marc Crawford famously made a decision to leave Wayne Gretzky on the bench for the shootout.
Dalton, a native of Clinton who played for the London Nationals and St. Marys Lincolns as a teen and holds dual Canada/Korea citizenship, stopped his first shot, but the puck trickled behind him and Repik whacked it into the net.