Thanks to Petr Koukla scoring as the second shooter in the shootout, Czech Republic eliminated Team USA in a 3-2 quarterfinal at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, ending the run of outstanding performances by US collegiate players Ryan Donato and Troy Terry, who were setting historic scoring paces.
Olympic goals leader Ryan Donato scored his fifth of the event 6:20 into the first period, but Czech defenceman Jan Kolar equalized 8:52 later on a blue-line slapshot and defenceman Tomas Kundratek gave the Czechs a 2-1 lead in the second period before Slater's equalizer. Chris Bourque, Ryan Donato, Marc Arcobello, Terry and Bobby Butler couldn't beat Francouz. The performances put the Russians in commanding position to win the first gold medal for a delegation that is competing under the neutral Olympic Athletes from Russia banner after the national team was banned over a major doping scandal.
"It's tough when it comes down to the shootout", USA captain Brian Gionta said.
USA goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shootout, while Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.
Donato, a 21-year-old junior at Harvard, put the USA on top with his tournament-leading fifth goal after almost being put into the U.S bench by Czech forward Jiri Sekac. "It's tough to swallow". "We are in a tournament where we are the top favourite, but we need to improve".
"That part's not that surprising".
'I'd be happy if he doubled it, ' Ted Donato said. "To lose at the Olympics that way is pretty tough", Slater said.
Unlike the Czech squad, which brought more global experience and had beaten Canada in a shootout in the preliminary round, the US roster was only announced a month before the Opening Ceremony, giving the team little time to gel as a team.
Norway's Bjørgen equals Winter Olympics medals record
It mined the young Klæbo's third gold medal at the Olympics, while Sundby shared two gold medals, both from relays. They're going to be following in our footsteps and showing up here in the next Olympic Games.
A parade to the penalty box by the United States beginning with a boarding call on John McCarthy at the end of the first made the opening half the second a one-sided game.
'We couldn't get the bounces, ' Donato said about the game.
"Not many people can say they scored an Olympic goal".
Just over two minutes later with the U.S. on another penalty kill and looking in serious trouble, Brian O'Neill flashed his speed once again and found Slater on the rush for the former Atlanta Thrashers forward's first goal of the tournament.
Former NHLer Jim Slater, whose shorthanded breakaway equalised for the Americans in the second period, was dismayed at the finish.
Francouz did his best impression of legendary countryman Dominik Hasek, though Donato also had him beat and lost the puck.
With the scored locked at 2-2 late in the third period, Brian O'Neill had a chance to give the U.S the lead when his wrist shot clanged off the post.
Zapolski, a Mahoning Valley Phantom from 2005-07, got better throughout the Olympics, and he stopped 18 of 20 shots in regulation and overtime against the Czechs.