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Russian Men's Hockey Team Reaches Olympic Finals, Beating Czech Team

25 February 2018

He made 19 saves with the Russians getting an empty netter with 3 seconds left for the final margin.

In the 3rd period, Canada started playing a little more active than they did before and quickly made it 4-1, but 1st period would repeat itself - Next shift and Czech would come back within two goals from a snipe by Kovar.

The Czech hockey team lost its bid for the bronze at the Winter Olympics on Saturday, suffering a 6:4 defeat at the hands of Canada.

Their opponent is quite the surprise.

With the win, Canada has now medalled at three consecutive Olympics, while the Czech Republic, who won Group A and have knocked off some top competition at the tournament, suffered the disappointment of finishing off the podium.

Now they're in the Olympic gold-medal game for Germany, having advanced further than the teams from their home countries. The Czechs thought they had trimmed the lead to 5-3, but a Martin Erat goal was called back after Tomas Zohorna interfered with Canadian goalie Kevin Poulin.

Germany had never before beaten Sweden at the Olympics, and after doing so even coach Marco Sturm conceded his team's expectations and goals have changed throughout the tournament.

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After Canada's last flurry was ended with the puck sent out of the offensive zone, the Germans hugged and huddled in celebration with the Canadians simply standing around in disbelief. Francouz now hopes to repeat what Hasek and the Czechs did in 1998 in Nagano when they won gold in what was the first Olympic tournament with National Hockey League players. The first got Canada on the board when a Mat Robinson shot bounced in off of Andrew Ebbett's skate.

That makes falling short of gold with a 3-0 loss Friday to the "Olympic athletes from Russia" in the semifinals so very disappointing.

Russian Federation hadn't reached an Olympic final since Nagano in 1998, where they lost to the Czechs, only managing a silver. Goaltender Danny aus den Birken said it makes a difference to have a German coach because he's more invested in the team, and Sturm has had more success than Canadian predecessor Pat Cortina.

You could even argue the Americans weren't much of a test in the 4-0 Russian win to conclude pool play.

The final between the Germans and the olympic athletes of Russian Federation, on Sunday. But beating the Russians will require each German player to have the best game of his career.

Canada led 2-1 after the opening period. He added a second with 2:05 left with the Canadians holding on for the win.

"Very fortunate that maybe they didn't play their absolute best game and we had a pretty good game", Switzerland's Peter de Cruz said. "But I think in the end, what it took for us was to be insane enough to believe that we could get here", he added.

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The Czechs had more won an olympic medal since the bronze in Turin in 2006.

"It is huge for us and the players and for the country", Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko said of playing for the gold. "It's tough to win".

Although Germany carries a ton of momentum and confidence into Saturday's final, the Russians are the overwhelming favorite to capture gold.

Through 14 days, 10 of Canada's best-ever 27 medals are gold.

Despite winning twice in Group B, Slovenia was never going to match up well with Russian Federation, and it showed in the 8-2 pool-play contest between the two teams.

Coach Oleg Znarok isn't one for lavish praise.

Vasily Koshechkin stopped all 31 shots he faced to help the Russians advance.

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The Russians seem to have taken on the personality of their coach, with nearly every player declining interviews. "We know how Canada plays, and we just need that same effort and that same kind of togetherness".

Russian Men's Hockey Team Reaches Olympic Finals, Beating Czech Team