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Ice hockey: South Korean men fall to Czechs on Games debut

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) – The Czech Republic men’s ice hockey staff edged out South Korea 2-1 on Thursday however had to come from behind towards a powerful Olympic debut efficiency by the host nation.

The Koreans, ranked 21st on the earth, took a shock 1-Zero lead over the sixth-ranked Czechs within the first interval. Cho Min-ho took a feed within the slot from Brock Radunske, one among six Canadians on the staff, and fired a wrist shot previous Czech goalkeeper Pavel Francouz.

The objective despatched the near-capacity crowd on the Gangneung Hockey Centre into delirium.

While it took the unified Korean ladies’s staff almost 150 minutes of taking part in time to notch their first objective, which got here on Wednesday towards Japan, the South Korean men completed the identical feat in 7 minutes and 34 seconds.

“This was huge,” stated Korean coach Jim Paek, the primary Korean-born participant within the NHL and a Stanley Cup winner. “First night in the Olympics. First game ever in the Olympics. First goal scored in the Olympics. It was a fantastic night for sure.”

The lead wouldn’t final, although. The Czechs, together with a number of ex-NHL gamers and 15 who play in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, leveled about 4 minutes later when Jan Kovar tapped in a go from Michal Repik, beating South Korean goaltender Matt Dalton to the glove aspect.

Ice Hockey – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men Preliminary Round Match – Czech Republic v South Korea – Gangneung Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea – February 15, 2018 – Goalie Pavel Francouz of the Czech Republic (33) sprawls on the ice throughout third interval motion. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

They took the lead on a short-handed objective. Repik, who performed 72 video games over 4 seasons with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, intercepted a puck because the Koreans had been making an attempt to get away of their zone and charged the objective.

Dalton stopped his first shot, however the puck trickled behind him and Repik whacked it into the online.

“I’d like to have that second one back,” Dalton stated. “I felt better as the game went on. At the end of the day, I was just trying to give the guys a chance to win the game.”

Dalton made 38 saves to preserve it shut for his staff, and the gang offered an enormous carry, roaring each time a Korean participant carried the puck throughout heart ice into the Czech zone.

“It was tough, they played a really good game,” Czech captain Martin Erat stated of the Koreans. “A lot of energy and the crowd was behind them so it was a great game for them.”

Unlike the unified Korean ladies’s squad, which incorporates 12 gamers from North Korea, the South Korean men’s staff shouldn’t be built-in and has to date escaped the highlight solid upon the ladies.

The men’s Olympic match is being performed with out NHL gamers for the primary time because the 1994 Games in Norway’s Lillehammer, after the league and the International Olympic Committee failed to agree on masking gamers’ journey and insurance coverage prices.

Reporting by Dan Burns, enhancing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis

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