Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Czech Republic eliminates US in shootout in men's hockey

Czech Republic eliminates US in shootout in men's hockey

Koukal, the second Czech to shoot, deked around USA netminder Ryan Zapolski for the only goal of the shootout as the Americans could not get a puck past Pavel Francouz, who stopped all five shots.

Alina Zagitova or Evgenia Medvedeva will nearly certainly take gold in one of the Winter Games marquee events after they went 1-2 in the women's short program with the highest scores ever. Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler couldn't solve Francouz.

"I kind of lost the puck".

"It's tough when it comes down to the shootout", United States captain Brian Gionta said.

It was a close contest throughout before the Czechs got the better of the U.S. in the penalty shot shootout, scoring twice to the USA's zero.

With Latvians loaded Russian bench and Team Russia was the 2nd team to qualify for the 2018 Olympic semi-finals after beating Norway 6:1 (3:0, 2:1, 1:0).

"It was our dream before the tournament to go this far, but I really hope it's not the end", Francouz said.

"It always comes down to the smallest plays and I think at the end of the day you've got to be able to capitalize on those plays to win a game", said Donato, who scored his fifth goal of the tournament in regulation. "We have to play our own style and focus on ourselves". USA goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shotoout, while Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.

The US looked worn out after facing Slovakia in the qualification round a day earlier and was outshot 29-20.

"Sorry to let him down on that on", Terry said, adding that Francouz's use of the glove on his right hand - uncommon in hockey - didn't let him use his usual move. Eric O'Dell pushed Veli-Matti Savinainen into Ben Scrivens in the 2nd period meaning that Canada had to make a goalie change and Scrivens was sent to the room while Kevin Poulin took over the netminding duties to keep Canada's net safe.

In regulation, Terry skated around opponents as he had done all tournament, and 6:20 in gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. "To lose at the Olympics that way is pretty tough", Slater said.

One of the men's team's college stars, Harvard's Ryan Donato struck first with a goal six minutes into the first, but the lead lasted just nine minutes, when Jan Kolar answered for the Czechs.

Jim Slater scored on a short-handed breakaway from a feed by Brian O'Neill along the boards to tie the game 2-2 with 9:37 left in the second.

The teams traded chances in the third period and O'Neill clanked a shot off the crossbar with just under three minutes left on an odd-man rush.

Zapolski, a Mahoning Valley Phantom from 2005-07, got better throughout the Olympics, and he stopped 18 of 20 shots in regulation and overtime against the Czechs.

With 35 seconds left in overtime, USA defenceman Bobby Sanguinetti's shot hit Francouz and sat in the crease, but the goalie was able to cover up.

The Czechs move on to face either the Russians or Norway.

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