GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) – The Czech Republic rallied twice to hand the Canadian men’s hockey team its first Olympic loss in eight years Saturday, riding goaltender Pavel Francouz to a 3-2 win in a shootout.
Canada had won 11 consecutive games at the Olympics – the first 10 with NHL players – dating to a loss to the United States in pool play in Vancouver in 2010. Canada opened these games with a comfortable 5-1 win over the Swiss that confirmed its status as one of the favorites in the tournament.
Still, Russia, the United States and now Canada have all lost in the preliminary round.
Mason Raymond and Rene Bourque scored first-period goals for Canada, which wraps up preliminary-round play Sunday against South Korea, but Dominik Kubalik and Michal Jordan answered for the Czechs, who used a successful forecheck. The Czechs tied it up 35 seconds into the second period. Ben Scrivens, who had mishandled the puck seconds earlier, stopped a Michal Birner shot but Jordan banged in the rebound.
Canada outshot the Czechs 33-20 through overtime, but Francouz stood tall – particularly in the extra session.
The three-on-three overtime on the big ice was frantic entertainment with quality scoring chances. Canada’s Derek Roy made some nifty rushes but couldn’t finish it off, while Mat Robinson broke up a two-on-one before losing the puck on a breakaway.
Wojtek Wolski scored for Canada in the shootout while Maxim Lapierre, Roy and Bourque were all stopped by Francouz and Maxim Noreau hit the post on his attempt. Petr Koukal and Jan Kouvar scored for the Czechs against Scrivens.
Canada came into the game 13-13-1 against the Czech Republic in Olympic and world championship play but had won the last five meetings and eight of the last 10.
The three group winners and the best second-ranked teams advance directly to the quarterfinals. The remaining eight play, with the four winners advancing to the quarters.