The Olympic men’s hockey semifinals are set - and they’re sure going to be interesting. The Czech Republic edged the United States in a shootout and will face the Olympic Athletes from Russia, who beat out Norway to move on.
Canada narrowly edged Finland in the quarterfinals and will play Germany, who shocked top-place Sweden with an overtime victory, in the semifinals.
It isn’t exactly surprising that the US men didn’t make it past the quarterfinals, particularly given their struggles in the preliminary round. The US men haven’t medaled since 2010 in Vancouver, when they won silver, and of course, haven’t won gold since that 1980 team in Lake Placid.
This Olympics will mark the first time since 2002 that Finland doesn’t get a medal in men’s hockey. They won bronze each of the last two years and silver in 2006.
Here’s a recap of the quarterfinal games:
Czech Republic 3, United States 2
Boston Bruins prospect Ryan Donato was the star of the show for Team USA at the Olympics. He continued showcasing his offensive skill by opening the scoring for the Americans in the quarterfinal game, just 6:20 in.
Jan Kolar tied the game for the Czechs later in the first period. Each team would then add a goal in the second period, with Tomas Kundratek and Jim Slater (yes, former Atlanta Thrasher Jim Slater) potting goals.
After three periods of action, plus an additional 10-minute overtime, the score remained locked at two. Five US skaters (Chris Bourque, Donato, Mark Arcobello, Troy Terry and Bobby Butler) all failed to score in the resulting shootout.
Petr Koukal had the lone goal in the five-round shootout to give his team the win and the chance to play for a medal.
Buffalo Sabres prospect Will Borgen never saw any game action throughout the Olympics. Former Sabres captain Brian Gionta played in five games and had 16 shots on goal.
Former Rochester Americans netminder David Leggio never played.
Olympic Athletes from Russia 6, Norway 1
The OAR dominated Norway in shots (32-14) and on the scoreboard to move onto the semifinals.
Mikhail Grigorenko made it 1-0 under nine minutes into the game on his first goal of the Olympics. Nikita Gusev and Vyacheslav Voinov added goals in the opening frame to put the OAR up 3-0 after twenty minutes.
Norway got on the board in the second period thanks to Alexander Bonsaksen, but seconds later, Bonsaksen took a penalty that gave OAR the chance to respond. Sure enough, Sergei Kalinin tapped one home on the power play to regain the three-goal lead for the OAR.
Nikita Nesterov added another power-play goal later in the second period before Ivan Telegrin made it 6-1 in the third.
Grigorenko finished the game with two points, three shots and a plus-2 in 12:14.
Canada 1, Finland 0
Finland is finn-ished as Canada scored just once, early in the third period, to seal the victory.
Through forty minutes of play, the teams remained scoreless. It was just 55 seconds into the third period, however, when Maxim Noreau tallied the game-winning goal for the Canadians.
Eric O’Dell assisted on the goal.
Ben Scrivens started the game in net for Canada, but was run over in the second period and later left the game. Kevin Poulin came in his relief just 4:17 into the middle frame and finished the rest of the game.
Former Buffalo Sabres forward Derek Roy had five shots on goal in 18:30. Marc-Andre Gragnani had two penalty minutes and skated 12:08.
Germany 4, Sweden 3
What a game for Germany, who snagged the win despite giving up three third-period goals to the Swedes and were outshot 34-25.
Former Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff put Germany up 1-0 on the power play more than halfway through the opening period. Felix Schutz, former Sabres prospect, assisted on the opening goal.
Marcel Noebels made it a two-goal game under 30 seconds later, and Germany would hold to the 2-0 lead until early in the third period.
Anton Lander put Sweden on the board, but it lasted only about two minutes before Germany’s Dominik Kahun restored his team’s two-goal lead.
Sweden then scored twice in a span of 2:02, including once on the power play, to tie the game. Patrik Hersley and Mikael Wikstrand had the goals.
Just 90 seconds into the overtime period, Germany’s Patrick Reimer potted the game-winning goal to shock the Swedes and send his team to the semifinals.
Former Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth did not play in the game; Linus Omark potted two assists and was a plus-1 in 19:01.
NHL draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin had one assist, but was barely used in the game; his first shift didn’t come until the third period, and he played only 2:59 total.
For Germany, Ehrhoff had the goal and one shot on goal as he skated 20:17; he finished the game a plus-2.
Next Action (day & time EST)
Czech Republic vs. Olympic Athletes from Russia, Friday, 2:40 a.m., NBCSN
Canada vs. Germany, Friday, 7:10 a.m., NBCSN