The Canadians made sure they aren’t going home from the Olympics empty-handed, even after missing out on a third straight gold medal.
Andrew Ebbett, Chris Kelly and Derek Roy each scored in the first period, and Canada took the bronze medal at the Pyeongchang Games by beating the Czech Republic 6-4 Saturday night.
This was the third bronze all-time for Canada to go along with nine gold medals for the country that created hockey, not that the Canadians seemed to mind too much when the buzzer sounded. They hugged in celebration at the net where Kevin Poulin made 30 saves in his second straight start in place of the injured Ben Scrivens.
Ebbett and Kelly added a goal apiece in the third, and Wojtek Wolski also scored for Canada, which also finished with bronze in 1968 and 1956.
Roman Cervenka scored twice in the final 4 minutes to make the finish more exciting. After a final flurry, the Czechs stood on the ice, propped on their sticks in disappointment at coming up short of their country’s first medal since winning bronze in 2006 in Turin.
Martin Ruzicka and Jan Kovar also scored for the Czech Republic.
When these teams met in pool play, the Czechs beat Canada 3-2 and had not lost until a 3-0 loss to the “Olympic athletes from Russia’’ in Friday’s semifinals. Then Germany stunned the Canadians 4-3 to keep them out of the gold medal game.
With both teams coming off disappointing losses, they came out a bit slowly with only three shots combined over the first seven minutes. Then Canada and the Czech Republic scored three goals in 31 seconds with Canada on top 2-1 after the flurry.
Ruzicka went to the box for hooking, and Ebbett scored after a shot from Mat Robinson went off Vojtech Mozik’s stick and then Ebbett’s skate at 8:57 for the power-play goal. The Czechs answered 16 seconds later as Ruzicka scored off a pass by Roman Cervenka with the puck going off Poulin’s right skate and in.
The goal had barely been announced when Kelly redirected a long shot from Cody Goloubef at 9:28.
Roy skated up the slot and beat Pavel Francouz with a backhander through the pads off a feed from Brandon Kozun at 15:57. That gave Canada three goals on its first eight shots, a reversal from the semifinal when the Canadians gave up three goals on nine shots in the first period in losing to Germany 4-3.
Ebbett padded the lead at 5:50 of the third only to see the Czechs answer 46 seconds later. Kovar scored from the slot off a pass from Roman Horak. Kelly padded the lead with his second at 9:37 from the inside edge of the right circle for a 5-2 lead.
The Czechs thought they pulled within 5-3 on a slap shot from captain Martin Erat just 62 seconds after Kelly’s goal. But Canada challenged for goalie interference, and the goal was waved off for Tomas Zohorna’s contact with Poulin at the edge of the crease.
Cervenka’s goal with 3:34 left was reviewed for a high stick but stood after replay. He added a second with 2:05 left with the Canadians holding on for the win.