Ice Hockey: Russia v Germany for gold, who would have thought?

Christian Ehrhoff of Germany celebrates after scoring a goal during the first period of the quarterfinal round of the men's hockey game against Sweden at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Wednesday Feb. 21 2018. (AP

Two goals apiece from Andrew Ebbett and captain Chris Kelly, another from Derek Roy who was again his team's best forward and a tremendous performance by Kevin Poulin in net ensured Canada's 29th medal at these Olympics with a 6-4 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday night.

They're obviously not at the Olympics, but the texts and calls are flowing, Draisaitl FaceTimed with guys after the Canada game and all the players' names who helped Germany qualify are on the walls of the team's locker room at Gangneung Hockey Centre.

Canada, though, hung on to avoid a first Games without an ice hockey medal since Nagano in 1998, when the Czech Republic won gold. He made 30 saves, including 14 in the first period, a day after allowing four German goals on 15 shots in a 4-3 defeat. This is its first bronze since 1876.

Canada jumped out first on the power play when Mat Robinson chipped a puck in front of the Czech net and it ricocheted off several sticks, including Ebbett's, and dribbled through Pavel Francouz's pads into the net. But over the past week, Germany has gone from barely being able to squeak by Norway to upsetting two of the most storied global programs in the sport.

Four years after his shootout heroics in Sochi, Oshie could only watch helplessly halfway around the world as Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Troy Terry and Bobby Butler got their chances against the Czech Republic with a berth in the semifinals on the line. Kelly's slap shot three minutes later earned him his second goal and put the Canadians up by three.

Canada had won the last two Olympic gold medals, though those victories came with star-studded rosters. American-born Bjorn Krupp and Canadian-born Brooks Macek don't feel at all conflicted about playing for Germany at the Olympics.

After a tight second period kept the game at 3-1 Canada, the team's went pond-hockey-ish in the third. They were up 3-1 in the third period, so we need to be at our best against them.

A Martin Erat goal a little over a minute later was waved off due a Canadian goalie interference challenge. And it was Ryan Zapolski in net instead of Jonathan Quick, who was back in North America on the bench for the Los Angeles Kings' 60th game in an National Hockey League regular season that rolled on, right through the Olympics.

And for the men losing to Germany took away their chance at gold.

Despite its slow start Saturday, Canada found itself leading 2-1 after the period took off like a firecracker with three goals in 31 seconds. His father, grandmother and grandfather are still back in Manitoba, and he said they didn't have split allegiances watching Germany versus Canada.

Roman Cervenka added two late goals for the Czechs but they were not enough.

Since German unification in 1990, the Germans have never beaten Sweden in Olympic play, going 0-5.



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