CANADA FALLS SHORT IN SHOOTOUT
JASON LA ROSE
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - Mason Raymond (Cochrane, Alta./SC Bern, NLA) and Rene Bourque (Lac La Biche, Alta./Djurgårdens IF, SHL) scored power-play goals in the first period, but Canada's Men's Olympic Team dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to the Czech Republic on Saturday at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
The loss ends Canada's 11-game Olympic winning streak; it had not been on the wrong end of a final score since a 5-3 preliminary-round defeat at the hands of the United States at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Wojtek Wolski (Toronto, Ont./Metallurg Magnitogorsk, KHL) gave Canada the lead with a gorgeous move in Round 2 of the shootout, only for Petr Koukal and Jan Kovar to respond on the second and third Czech attempts.
Maxim Noreau (Montreal, Que./SC Bern, NLA) was the final shooter for the Canadians; his backhand slipped past Czech goaltender Pavel Francouz but couldn't beat the post, giving the Europeans the extra point.
Canada jumped into an early lead when Raymond redirected a feed from Linden Vey (Wakaw, Sask./ZSC Lions, NLA) just 73 seconds after the puck dropped, but Dominik Kubalik took advantage of a bouncing puck deep in the Canadian zone and beat goaltender Ben Scrivens (Spruce Grove, Alta./Salavat Yulaev Ufa, KHL) to the short-side to tie the game at 6:52.
Bourque restored the Canadian advantage with another man-advantage marker at 13:30, banging in a Noreau rebound from in close for his third goal in two games and sending Canada to the intermission up 2-1.
The Czechs responded quickly in the second period, tying the game on a Michal Jordan goal just 23 seconds in.
Canada controlled the play for much of the middle frame, and had its best chance to take back the lead on a 33-second 5-on-3 late in the period. Vey had the best Canadian chance, wiring his shot off the post.
A scoreless third period sent the game to overtime, where the Canadians again had the best scoring opportunity; Mat Robinson (Calgary, Alta./CSKA Moscow, KHL) broke in alone on Francouz, only to have the puck hop over his stick at the last second.
Canada finished with a 33-20 advantage in shots on goal, including 23-11 in the first 40 minutes.
It will close out the preliminary round Sunday (7:10 a.m. ET/4:10 a.m. PT), taking on host South Korea.