Andrew Ebbett and Chris Kelly both scored twice as Canada beat the Czech Republic 6-4 on Saturday to claim bronze in the men's Olympic ice hockey tournament. The Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation defeated the Czech Republic, 3-0, in the first semifinal on Friday at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, a victory clinched on an empty-net goal by former NHL standout Ilya Kovalchuk.
Now they're in the Olympic gold-medal game for Germany, having advanced further than the teams from their home countries.
Canada, though, hung on to avoid a first Games without an ice hockey medal since Nagano in 1998, when the Czech Republic won gold. But a flurry of first- and third-period goals turned the tide Canada's way.
Ensuring that disappointment didn't spill over into the bronze-medal game against the Czechs was no simple task.
"We just hope win one more game", he said to one question, adding: "We need one more win". They will play either Canada or Germany on Saturday night. Whether it's a gold or it's a bronze, it's still something you wear proud.
The team can still win a medal. Following a disappointing loss to the Germans in which he allowed four goals on 15 shots, Poulin was peppered in the opening period of the bronze game but only cracked once, stopping 14 of the 15 shots he faced. Germany didn't qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympic tournament.
The Czechs outshot Canada 34-26. A scoreless second period offered some respite before a six-goal roller-coaster finale in the third.
But some anxious moments followed as the Czechs clawed back two goals with two minutes to go despite being a man down.
Still the Canadian men showed their character in the bronze-medal game, delivering a bounceback performance that gives them something to remember.
Almost six minutes into the final period, Ebbett worked his way to the front of the Czech net with his stick on the ice as a target for Kozun, who fired a hard pass out front that Ebbett tipped for top corner for his second goal of the game.
In 2018, the Olympic flag could be raised again to honor the victory of the Russian team, which is again competing without their flag and anthem, after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned the country's national emblems as punishment for alleged drug violations. Had the National Hockey League gone to South Korea, the US team likely would have overflowed with talented players such as Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau, Patrick Kane, Jack Eichel, Shayne Gostisbehere and Seth Jones.
The final between the Germans and the olympic athletes of Russian Federation, on Sunday.
Coach Willie Desjardins kept none of his forward lines intact from the Germany game, making changes to all four.
Dominik Kubalik, Roman Cervenka, Kovar and Erat are a few of the scoring threats for the Czechs, who also have a collection of defensemen eager to contribute to the attack.