CANADA DOWNED IN SEMIS, WILL PLAY FOR OLYMPIC BRONZE

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea – Mat Robinson (Calgary, Alta./CSKA Moscow, KHL) and Derek Roy (Rockland, Ont./Linköping HC, SHL) scored in the third period to cut a three-goal deficit to one, but Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team finished a goal short in a 4-3 semifinal loss to Germany on Friday at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

Gilbert Brulé (Vancouver, B.C./Kunlun Red Star, KHL) had the other goal for Canada, which outshot Germany 31-15, including 15-1 in the third period, but couldn’t finish the comeback in the dying minutes.

The Germans took advantage of a two-man advantage to open the scoring; the puck was worked around to Winnipeg-born Brooks Macek, who snapped a shot past Canadian goaltender Kevin Poulin (Montreal, Que./EHC Kloten, NLA) at 14:43 of the first.

The goal was the first allowed in the tournament by Poulin and ended his international shutout streak at more than 275 minutes, dating back to the semifinals at the Spengler Cup.

Matthias Plachta doubled the lead less than four minutes into the second period, finding space behind the Canadian defence, and Frank Mauer made it 3-0 less than four minutes later with a between-the-legs deflection that got underneath Poulin.

Brulé got Canada on the board with a power play at 8:17 of the second, hammering a one-timer past German netminder Danny Aus den Birken, only to have Patrick Hager restore the three-goal lead for the Germans with a man-advantage marker of their own four minutes after that.

Canada dominated the third period, and quickly pulled back within two when Robinson jumped into the rush and finished a set-up by Christian Thomas (Toronto, Ont./Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, AHL) just 2:42 into the final frame.

Poulin faced just a single shot in the third period, turning away Dominik Kahun on penalty shot only 39 seconds after the Robinson goal to keep momentum with the Canadians.

Roy set up an exciting finish by banking in a power-play goal at 10:18, but Aus den Birken kept Canada at bay after that, ending hopes of a third-consecutive Olympic gold medal.

Quotes:

 

“It seemed like everything they shot went in early [in the game]. They didn’t have lots of shots. It was one of those games where they put pucks to the net [and] they went in. They played hard, they deserved what they got.

 

“We thought we would [reel them in] coming out of the room [after the second intermission], we thought we had a chance. We had two really great looks late in the game, [but] we didn’t score. I thought the guys worked hard. At the end, I thought we gave it everything we had. I’m disappointed for sure. It’s a tough loss. It’ll be tough [to regroup for the bronze-medal game] – we’ve got to get away from it tonight. Everybody’s really disappointed tonight. We’ll regroup tomorrow.”

Team Canada’s head coach, Willie Desjardins, on Canada’s attempt to come back from the early deficit

 

“They were the better team tonight. They came out ready to play, we didn’t. Credit to [Germany], it’s a huge win for them. Best of luck to them [in the gold-medal game]. It stings a lot right now, we let a big [opportunity] get away from us. We’re gonna have to regroup tonight, let it sting a little, and then have a huge game tomorrow.”

Rob Klinkhammer (Lethbridge, Alta./Ak Bars Kazan, KHL) on what made the difference in the semifinal game, and how to approach the bronze-medal game

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