Russia dropped its final game of the round-robin after losing 6-5 to the Czech Republic in one of the craziest games of the men’s Olympic hockey tournament.
The game ended Group B preliminary round play, with Russia taking the top spot with seven points, Denmark sitting second with six and the Czech Republic and Switzerland closing out the pact. The rest of the qualification round seedings will be finalized on Sunday when Group A and Group C finish play.
The Russians struck first at 4:51. Vladimir Tkachyov beat Simon Hrubec with a hard shot after a pressure-packed start to the game by the Russians. The Czechs would answer back at 12:37 when Tomas Kundratek’s shot beat a screened Ivan Fedotov, the first goal he allowed all tournament long in his third start of the tournament.
The game remained tied until 32:19 when Nikita Nesterov’s point shot blew through open ice and beat Hrubec to restore Russia’s lead.
But that’s when everything went bananas.
A penalty to Dmitry Voronkov at 37:34 proved to be extremely costly for the Russians, giving the Czechs a five-minute power play. David Krejci scored at 18:42 on a one-timer opportunity before Michael Spacek walked in and blasted a shot that squeaked past Fedetov’s blocker and in for the 3-2 goal.
The Czechs finally scored a 5-on-5 goal against Fedotov. At 43:14, Lukas Klok would use traffic in front of the Russian net to fire the puck in for his first goal of the tournament, giving the Czechs a two-goal lead.
At 3:50, Kirill Semyonov scored to make it 4-3 before Arseni Gritsyuk flew by a defender to tie the game at four apiece.
But the scoring wasn’t done. Russia took the lead back at 48:22 when Andrei Chibisov beat Hrubec with a shot that seemed to surprise Hrubec, who was unprepared for the opportunity. Speaking of surprise, Tomas Hyka scored 35 seconds later when his shot from below the goal line bounced off the leg of an unsuspecting Fedotov for the 5-5 goal.
The game required overtime to decide the victor, the second such game to go beyond the scheduled distance for the Czech Republic in a row. With Alexander Nikishin in the box for slashing, Lukas Sulak scored a power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the extra frame to give the Czechs the win, similar to the team’s result against the Swiss in the shootout two days prior.