March 22, 2018

Russians into Olympic ice hockey final

25 February 2018, 07:48 | Christie Tate

Ice hockey: Canadian men beat Czechs to claim bronze

Canadians overpower Czech Republic to claim men's ice hockey bronze

In what was truly an impressive and redemptive performance given what had happened less than 24 hours earlier, Team Canada came out with energy and objective and left with a bronze medal after a mostly dominating 6-4 win over the Czech Republic.

Perhaps the biggest blow to the country's psyche came on Friday when the men's hockey team, who were twice defending champions, lost a semi-final clash to Germany.

But Germany? A team whose players and coaches concede playing a game that suffers as a distant second or third fiddle to the country's sporting passion, football, they snuck up on everybody.

In 1992, Russian players performing for the Unified Team following the collapse of the USSR had no national anthem and flag.

Canada has found the podium for a third straight Olympics, and done so with what was their most impressive offensive performance of the tournament.

He sees every Olympic hockey tournament as an opportunity to win gold no matter who shows up.

Goalie Pavel Francouz got the Czechs to the semifinals by stopping the United States in a shootout victory in the quarterfinals. "I thought never that I would have the chance to participate in the Olympics, and now I find myself with a medal!"

Three goals took place in a 31-second span during the first period, starting with a redirect by Andrew Ebbett on the Canada power play. Gilbert Brule had a power-play goal for Canada before being ejected for a high hit on David Wolf.

"We have had a very bad start to the game", said striker Roman Cervenka.

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"A year ago nobody in this locker room knew we would have this opportunity", Ebbett said. Russian flags - the team barred from using them by International Olympic Committee sanctions for state-sponsored doping - hung behind the bench as the team awaited their gold medals.

That came hours after it was assured Canada would not medal in men's or women's curling for the first time since that sport returned to the Winter Games in 1998.

With the win, the Canadians have now earned a hockey medal in three straight Winter Olympics, although Saturday's bronze will look boring in their eyes next to the golds they captured in Sochi and Vancouver.

For the Germans, a win would mark their first gold medal ever in ice hockey.

The Swiss rink leapt in the air to celebrate, before quickly remembering their manners to shake hands with their clearly deflated opponents - after which they regathered for a mass hug.

"Everybody talks about 1976 and winning bronze medal, and now for the next 50 years they're going to talk about us", German defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said.

"Back home we fight for every minute on TV and media and all the fans", German coach Marco Sturm said. "But it's a medal and we can cherish that at least for the rest of our lives".

"We just hope win one more game", he said to one question, adding: "We need one more win".

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