GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) – Kirill Kaprizov scored in extra time to lead the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) previous a feisty Germany four-three on Sunday to win the boys’s ice hockey gold earlier than becoming a member of his group mates to defy a ban by singing the Russian nationwide anthem in the course of the medal ceremony.
The Russians, competing as impartial athletes at Pyeongchang as punishment for a years-lengthy Russian doping scandal, got here again from one-aim down on a aim by Nikita Gusev with lower than a minute left in regulation time to drive extra time in some of the pulsating finals within the historical past of Olympic hockey.
At their medal ceremony, the gamers group sang the Russian anthem over the sound of the Olympic anthem on the Gangneung Hockey Centre regardless of being barred from having their flag raised or anthem performed.
The sport was performed hours after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) determined not to restore their delegation’s Olympic standing, which might have enabled them to march below their flag on the closing ceremony afterward Sunday.
The group’s assistant captain Ilya Kovalchuk stated the gamers had mentioned beforehand whether or not to sing the anthem in the event that they have been to win, and so they agreed they’d.
“We knew that we will do it if we win,” stated Kovalchuk, the all-time main Russian aim-scorer in Olympic play.
Singing the Russian anthem on the sphere of play is a violation of the IOC’s guidelines on neutrality, which have been imposed on Russia as a part of sanctions punishing the nation over systematic doping throughout many sports activities.
The victory marked the primary time a group from Russia have received the gold medal in hockey since 1992, when the so-known as Unified Team representing Russia and 5 different former Soviet republics beat Canada for the Olympic championship.
“It means a lot. We didn’t win Olympics since ‘92,” Kovalchuk stated. “It was a while ago. That was our dream. That was my dream for when I was five years old, when I started playing. It’s great and it feels good.”
The sport was a thriller from the beginning and ended with aptitude, an ideal one-time slap shot from Kaprizov that ripped previous German goaltender Danny aus den Birken with Germany’s Patrick Reimer off for prime sticking.
Kaprizov had been fed the puck by the opposite Russian hero of the sport, Gusev, who netted two third interval objectives, together with the one which tied it, sending the sport to extra time with lower than a minute to go and the Germans trying like they have been about to pull off an enormous upset. Gusev completed because the Olympic event’s factors chief with 4 objectives and eight assists.
The Russians discovered themselves evenly matched by a German group who stunned the hockey world by making it to their first Olympic last. With the loss, the Germans received silver, their finest end ever in Olympic ice hockey and their first medal since a bronze on the Innsbruck video games in 1976.
On paper the ultimate shouldn’t have been a good battle, however the Germans, enjoying hockey for a rustic primarily obsessive about soccer, skated evenly with the OAR, a group loaded with high dwelling-grown expertise from Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, seen because the world’s second-finest league after the NHL, and led by ex-NHL all stars Pavel Datsyuk, their captain, and Kovalchuk.
The Germans had punched above their weight to get to the ultimate, beating hockey powerhouses Sweden and Canada, and so they weren’t about to give up with the gold medal on the road.
They got here again twice from one-aim deficits and took the lead late on a aim by Jonas Muller, who beat Vasili Koshechkin between the legs, solely to have their hearts damaged by Gusev and Kaprizov.
“It’s a little tough right now because we all felt we could have won that game, but that’s hockey, that’s just the way it is,” German coach Marco Sturm stated. “We all thought we would sit at home and watch the final on the couch. But here we are. The boys are going to bring silver home and they should be proud.”
Additional reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber and Simon Jennings; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Amlan Chakraborty