Olympics: Czech hockey team defeats Canada 3-2 in shootout

Willie Desjardins

The Czech Republic locks horns with Canada next on February 16 at 10:10 p.m., while South Korea returns to action against Team Switzerland on February 17 at 2:40 a.m.

On paper, this shouldn't have been as close as it turned out to be: a 2-1 win for the Czech Republic, who had to rally after giving up the first goal in the opening period.

Sporting News Canada will provide live updates throughout Canada's game against the Czech Republic beginning Friday at 10 pm ET.

"I thought it was going in", Noreau said of frozen rubber that probably would have made it with the help of a curling broom.

After a slick deke that briefly beat Czech goalie Pavel Francouz, Noreau had to watch in desperation as the puck trickled towards the net before ultimately bouncing off the bottom of the right post.

That means both teams get a spot directly in the tournament semi-finals and three days off before their next games while Finland, the Olympic Athletes from Russia, Switzerland and Sweden battle it out in the quarter-final round.

Canada's path to the quarterfinals at the Olympic men's hockey tournament hit a bump - but the Canadians are still all but assured an automatic berth as they wrap up Group A action Sunday against host South Korea.

Canada's Mat Robinson lost the puck on a breakaway to miss the best over-time chance either team enjoyed.

"It's a game of inches sometimes and we had some good looks on that 5-on-3", said Vey.

"It was one of those bounces that didn't go our way tonight, and hopefully we can get those bounces later in the tournament".

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The game was physical and chippy throughout, and the Canadians had lots of trouble handling an aggressive Czech forecheck, particularly during the first period when the Europeans carried the play for extended stretches. We've got to manage the puck better.

Canada continued to wobble in the first period, harried by the Czechs in their own end.

Scrivens, who had mishandled the puck seconds earlier, stopped a Michal Birner shot early in the second but Jordan banged in the rebound.

But that lead disappeared just 25 seconds into the second period when a loose puck squirted out to Jordan in the slot, where he snapped it home.

The Canadians went back on top later in the period, again on the powerplay.

Forward Andrew Ebbett limped off midway through the third, favouring his leg after being sandwiched by a pair of Czechs near centre ice.

Canada had won the last five meetings with the Czech Republic and eight of the last 10.

Tied 2-2 after 40 minutes, the teams played a cagey third period.

Goaltender Justin Peters, defenceman Karl Stollery and forward Quinton Howden did not dress for Canada with defenceman Stefan Elliott and forward Brandon Kozun drawing in.

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