Pyeongchang 2018

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Olympic Athletes from Russia beat Czechs to secure final spot

Olympic Athletes from Russia booked their spot in the men’s ice hockey final with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic.

Both teams had yet to taste defeat going into the last four clash at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.

Nikita Gusev and Vladislav Gavrikov scored in quick succession during the second period to put OAR on their way.

Ilya Kovalchuk then added a third into an empty net with 20 seconds remaining.

First period

It was a tight first period punctuated by a lot of broken plays.

The Czech Republic were happy to sit deep as OAR went on the attack.

The OAR worked the best opportunities as both Kirill Kaprizov and Sergei Kalinin found openings.

But Czech goaltender Pavel Francouz stood firm against everything thrown his way.

Second period

The deadlock was finally broken at 7:47 into the second period.

Pavel Datsyuk played a sumptuous pass across the face of goal to set up Nikita Gusev.

It was not the best angle for the forward, but Gusev planted a shot from wide on the left high into the net.

Czech head coach Josef Jandac challenged the goal, calling goaltender interference, but his appeal was unsuccessful. OAR had a 1-0 lead.

Moments later their advantage was doubled.

A quickfire 2-on-1 rush from Ivan Telegin set up Vladislav Gavrikov to touch the puck past Francouz.

Ilya Kovalchuk was then sent to the penalty box twice as OAR had to withstand a spell of intense pressure.

The Czechs were desperately trying to work some kind of opening.

But despite a barrage of shots – 15 stopped by OAR goalie Vasili Koshechkin in the second period – there was no way through.

Third period

It was more of the same in the third.

The Czech Republic were throwing everything at the OAR, but shot after shot came up against an impenetrable barrier.

It finished with Koschechkin stopping all 31 efforts faced.

After soaking up all the pressure in the period, OAR sealed victory as Kovalchuk flicked the puck into an empty net with 20 seconds remaining.

For the Czech Republic, dreams of following in the footsteps of the golden heroes of Nagano 1998 are now over.

The OAR meanwhile showed all their defensive qualities as they head on to a gold medal showdown.


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