International Ice Hockey Federation
Loading...

Czechs win in SO, 3-2

Kovar gets winner in tense struggle with Canada

Published 15.08.2018 16:15 GMT+11 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Czechs win in SO, 3-2
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 17: The Czech Republic's Jan Kovar #43 scores the 3-2 shoot-out winning goal on this play against Canada's Ben Scrivens #30 during preliminary round action at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The Czechs rallied twice to force overtime, then won the shootout, 2-1, on goals by Petr Koukal and Jan Kovar. Wojtek Wolski got the lone Canadian goal.

Canada scored early and led, 2-1, after the first period, but couldn't put the Czechs away. The win gives the Czechs five points in Group A, one more than Canada.

"We knew before the tournament there weren't going to be any easy games," Czech Michal Jordan, one of the scorers in regulation noted. "The first day results showed that, and it's good that we can win those close games like today."

Both teams finish their round robin tomorrow. Canada plays hosts Korea while the Czechs play the Swiss. The top team will gain a bye to the quarter-finals.

"Both teams played hard, and it was a good game for us," noted Canada's coach Willie Desjardins. "We've got to get better. We know that from the game, but I thought it was a good game by both teams. Now we just move ahead. This one's gone, so we don't worry about it at all; we just move ahead to the next one."

As in its first game, Canada got just the start it wanted, scoring early on the power play. Linden Vey made a clever pass through the Czech box in front of Francouz where Mason Raymond redirected the pass past the goalie at 1:13.

Moments later Scrivens solidified the lead with a nice save off Dominik Kubalik from in close, but the Czechs had the better of play for long stretches, pressuring Canada with impressive tenacity.

They were rewarded at 6:52 when Kubalik swatted a loose puck in after it hopped over the stick of defenceman Chris Lee as he tried to clear it. The Czechs continues to force play in the Canadian end, exposing some weak play by Canada.

Still, Canada got the go-ahead goal at 13:30 started by a great rush from Derek Roy. He danced his way into the Czech end, and although he was checked off the puck it ended up on the stick of Maxim Noreau. He fired a point shot that hit traffic in front, but Rene Bourque was there to put the rebound in.

The Czechs tied the game a second time just 25 seconds into the middle period. This time it was Michal Jordan who got to a loose puck in front and wired a high shot over the shoulder of Scrivens.

There were plentyof defensive errors all the way around, but neither team could capitalize. The Czechs had the best chance of the third when Lukas Radil found himself alone in the slot. His quick shot was stopped nicely by Scrivens, though, keeping it a 2-2 game with overtime looming.

Canada had a great chance of its ownto win in regulation when the Czechs took a late penalty for too many men, but the ensuing power play proved fruitless.

With a minute to go, Jiri Sekac wired a shot off the crossbar, and after that it was three-on-three overtime for the first time in Olympic history.

Mat Robinson had the best chance in the extra period. He first broke up a two-on-one for the Czechs, then bolted up ice, took a pass, and went in alone on goal. Unfortunately, he lost the puck as he made the move, negating a sensational shift.

That set the stage for the first shootout of these Olympics.