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Ice Hockey, Men

Date14 – 25 February 2018
StatusOlympic
LocationGangneung Hockey Centre, Gangneung Olympic Park, Coastal Cluster, Gangneung / Kwandong Hockey Centre, Coastal Cluster, Gangneung
Participants282 from 12 countries
FormatRound-robin pools, followed by single-elimination matches.

The men’s ice hockey tournament in PyeongChang was affected by the failure of the NHL and the IIHF to agree on terms to allow the NHL players to compete, as they had done since 1998. These discussions had gone on between each Winter Olympics since 1998, but the two sides had always reached agreement and the NHL players participated at the Olympics. This time the sides never came to a consensus, however, with the final stumbling block announced as the failure of the IIHF and the IOC to provide health insurance coverage for the NHL players, and in 2017 the NHL prohibited any player under NHL contract from playing for their nation at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

This was expected to greatly impact the quality of play at PyeongChang as the world’s best players – both European and North American – played professionally in the NHL. Most sides were forced to use their second-tier players, many from minor leagues in North America or those playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia, considered the world’s second best league after the NHL.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the resultant dissolution of their dominant hockey team, Russia had not won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, despite being a hockey power, and this had upset the Russian sports hierarchy, particularly when they failed to even come close to a medal at Sochi in 2014, finishing fifth on home soil.

Further, with the doping scandals that had enveloped Russian athletes since the 2008 Olympics, it was not even certain if Russia would be allowed to compete. Eventually a compromise was reached in which certain Russian athletes, usually with no doping history, were allowed to compete, but under the moniker Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). In addition, no Russian flags were to be displayed during the Games, there were restrictions on the uniforms used, and, at victory ceremonies, the Russian national anthem would not be played.

Without the NHL players, it was very difficult to choose a favorite in PyeongChang, although Russia, or the Olympic Athletes from Russia, was expected to be strong because it could call on a number of KHL players who were just below the level of the NHL.

There were three pools of four teams each, with the Czech Republic, Sweden, and the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) winning their respective pools. All 12 teams advanced to the knock-out round, with those three, joined by Canada, second in Pool A, advancing directly to the quarter-finals, while the other eight teams played a single-elimination round to reach the quarters.

Canada, Czech Republic, and OAR all won their quarter-finals, but the big surprise was Germany, who were at 60-1 odds before the Games began, upsetting Sweden, 4-3, to advance to the semi-finals. Germany continued its miracle run with a 4-3 defeat of Canada in the semis, and advanced to the finals where they would meet the OAR. The Germans did not even make the tournament in 2014 and had not won an Olympic match since 2002.

Playing for Olympic gold, OAR led with seven minutes remaining in the final, but Germany scored two goals, and took a 3-2 lead with only three minutes remaining. With their goalie pulled, Nikita Gusev tied the score with 55.5 seconds remaining in regulation, sending the game into 4-on-4 sudden-death overtime. In overtime, Kirill Kaprizov scored the golden goal on a power play with 10:20 remaining in overtime and OAR took the gold medal, finally winning 26 years after the Unified Team, the remnant of the Soviet Union, had won gold at Albertville in 1992.

At the victory ceremony, the “Russian” team and their fans decided they had had enough and stood together and sang the Russian national anthem, despite the prohibition about that anthem being played in PyeongChang (as a recording of the IOC’s anthem played over the arena sound system). In the crowd, one row of fans wore red shirts spelling out “Russia In My Heart”, while a few rows down more fans wore t-shirts that spelled out the team’s nickname, “Red Machine”, in both English and Cyrillic.

PosNrTeamNOCWOTWOTLLPtsGoalsGPMPGLSSOGASSPTS+/-PIMSVSSV%GAA
1Olympic Athletes from RussiaOAR41011427–9Gold
2GermanyGER1302917–18Silver
3CanadaCAN40111321–12Bronze
4Czech RepublicCZE22121116–15
5SwedenSWE30101011–5
6FinlandFIN3002916–9
7United StatesUSA2021811–12
8NorwayNOR011335–18
9SloveniaSLO021159–14
10SwitzerlandSUI1012411–11
11SlovakiaSVK101247–12
12Republic of KoreaKOR000403–19

Preliminary Round (14 – 18 February 2018)

Group A (15 – 18 February 2018)

Round-robin pool. Final pool rankings determine classification for secondary round and quarter-finals. Top four teams in round-robin pools given byes in quarter-finals.

PosNOCWOTWOTLLPtsGoals
1CZE210089–4Q
2CAN2010711–4Q
3SUI1002310–9
4KOR000301–14

Match #1 15 Feb 21:10CZE 2 – 1KOR
Match #2 15 Feb 21:10CAN 5 – 1SUI
Match #3 17 Feb 12:10CZE 3 – 2
AET, 2-1 PS
CAN
Match #4 17 Feb 16:40SUI 8 – 0KOR
Match #5 18 Feb 16:40CZE 4 – 1SUI
Match #6 18 Feb 21:10CAN 4 – 0KOR

Group B (14 – 17 February 2018)

Round-robin pool. Final pool rankings determine classification for secondary round and quarter-finals. Top four teams in round-robin pools given byes in quarter-finals.

PosNOCWOTWOTLLPtsGoals
1OAR2001614–5Q
2SLO020148–12
3USA101144–8
4SVK101146–7

Match #1 14 Feb 21:10SVK 3 – 2OAR
Match #2 14 Feb 21:10SLO 3 – 2
AET
USA
Match #3 16 Feb 12:10USA 2 – 1SVK
Match #4 16 Feb 16:40OAR 8 – 2SLO
Match #5 17 Feb 21:10OAR 4 – 0USA
Match #6 17 Feb 21:10SLO 3 – 2
AET, 2-1 PS
SVK

Group C (15 – 18 February 2018)

Round-robin pool. Final pool rankings determine classification for secondary round and quarter-finals. Top four teams in round-robin pools given byes in quarter-finals.

PosNOCWOTWOTLLPtsGoals
1SWE300098–1Q
2FIN2001611–6
3GER010224–7
4NOR001212–11

Match #1 15 Feb 12:10FIN 5 – 2GER
Match #2 15 Feb 16:40SWE 4 – 0NOR
Match #3 16 Feb 21:10FIN 5 – 1NOR
Match #4 16 Feb 21:10SWE 1 – 0GER
Match #5 18 Feb 12:10GER 2 – 1
AET, 3-0 PS
NOR
Match #6 18 Feb 21:10SWE 3 – 1FIN

Play-offs (20 February 2018)

Single elimination matches.

Match #1 20 Feb 12:10USA 5 – 1SVK
Match #2 20 Feb 16:40NOR 2 – 1SLO
Match #3 20 Feb 21:10FIN 5 – 2KOR
Match #4 20 Feb 21:10GER 2 – 1SUI

Quarter-Finals (21 February 2018 — 12:10)

Single elimination matches.

Match #1 21 Feb 12:10CZE 3 – 2USA
Match #2 21 Feb 16:40OAR 6 – 1NOR
Match #3 21 Feb 21:10CAN 1 – 0FIN
Match #4 21 Feb 21:10GER 4 – 3SWE

Semi-Finals (23 February 2018 — 16:40)

Single elimination matches.

Match #1 23 Feb 16:40OAR 3 – 0CZE
Match #2 23 Feb 21:10GER 4 – 3CAN

Final Round (24 – 25 February 2018)

Classification matches.

Match 1/2 25 Feb 13:10OAR 4 – 3GER
Match 3/4 24 Feb 21:10CAN 6 – 4CZE

Rankings

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Shots on Goal
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Penalties in Minutes (PIM)
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