Canadian men's hockey team loses 3-2 in shootout to Czech Republic

The pace is frenetic, the transitions are immediate and the space to operate appears even more endless than it does in the National Hockey League. But on the messy ice the defenceman lost the puck before he could fire a shot away, another in a series of opportunities the Canadians couldn't covert. He said he was fine afterwards. "I probably won't be able to sleep tonight".

Petr Koukal and Jan Kovar scored in the shootout to give the Czech Republic a 3-2 win on Saturday and hand two-time defending gold medal victor Canada their first Olympic men's ice hockey loss since the Vancouver Games in 2010.

Even though Canada was controlling the play and had a wide edge in shots on goal, the Czechs kept it close, tying the score at 2-2 just 25 seconds into the second period on a goal. "Like if you give everything you've got, then what happens happens and you move onto the next game and you look for some adjustments and you come back ready".

Sure, but man, that shootout.

Having earlier defeated South Korea 2-1, the Czech Republic now leads the group, followed by Canada, which opened the tournament with a 5-1 win over Switzerland on Thursday.

Maxim Noreau, Canada's fifth shooter, saw his attempt ring off the right post and the sixth-ranked Czech Republic celebrated its dramatic win over the top-ranked Canada.

The Czech Petr Koukal and Jan Kouvar the other hand, have deceived the vigilance of Ben Scrivens in the shootout.

The Czechs came close on a power play of their own but the puck bounced off the post during a goal-mouth scramble.

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What a tournament it has been so far for forward René Bourque, who got his third in just four periods when he grabbed a loose puck in front of Czech goaltender Pavel Francouz and buried it.

"It's a tough way to lose", said Canadian forward Linden Vey.

"The first 10 minutes I thought they had a little bit of an advantage but from that point on I thought we played hard", said Desjardins. "We just couldn't find a way to get one in".

This fight was more intense and more physical than when winning at 5-1 in the Canada against Switzerland, as the curtain rises.

The iron helped him, too, when Jiri Sekac hit the crossbar with 1:05 left. Canada has a much more aggressive style of play that will put the Czech Republic on the defensive from the start.

The three-on-three overtime on the big ice was frantic entertainment with quality scoring chances. We created lots of chances. "Either way we should be able to break it out and find the holes because they definitely had some and we needed to expose them". Dominik Kubalik tied things up for the Czechs at 6:52 in the same period. The overtime ended with the Czechs pressing.

The Canadians know they can't let the South Koreans do the same thing Sunday and with goal-differential a tiebreaker for the final quarter-final spot, if needed, running up the score will be important.

  • Regina Holmes