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Olympic Hockey Results 2018: Russian Athletes, Germany Move to Gold Medal Game

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2018

Russian athlete Ilya Kovalchuk (71) reacts after scoring a goal against the Czech Republic during the third period of the semifinal round of the men's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. Olympic Athletes from Russia won 3-0. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

After a shock semifinal win, Germany will look to finish off its run in men's ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics with a gold medal against the Olympic Athletes from Russia. 

The Germans prevailed 4-3 over Canada in Friday's semifinal matchup thanks to three goals on three straight shots in the second period. This will be the first time since 2006 the Canadians don't win gold at the Olympics. 

The Russian team, by comparison, went about its business quietly. It defeated the Czech Republic 3-0 in the first semifinal, its fourth straight win by at least three goals in Pyeongchang, South Korea. 

         

2018 Olympics Men's Hockey Gold-Medal Game Schedule

Date: Saturday, Feb. 24

Start Time: 11:10 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC Sports Network

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com

        

Since losing its opening game against Slovakia, the Russian team has banded together to breeze past the competition. After posting a plus-nine goal differential in Group B, the Russian athletes have defeated Norway and the Czech Republic by a combined score of 9-1 in the playoff bracket.

Russia hasn't featured in the gold-medal game at the Olympics since 1998. Goalie Vasily Koshechkin has been tremendous throughout the tournament, stopping 31 shots in the semifinal, and his 1.08 goals against average is the best in these Games. 

"He's been our best player this tournament," Russian forward Mikhail Grigorenko said of Koshechkin, via Dan Burns and Mark Trevelyan of Reuters. "He's just been making a lot of saves. He made some huge saves tonight, and he was good."

Koshechkin may be the best player for the Russian athletes in Pyeongchang, but a loaded roster has proved to be too much for anyone to stop in the past four games. They haven't scored fewer than three goals in any game during this winning streak.

While the Russia team was expected to be here, Germany came out of nowhere to guarantee its third Olympic hockey medal ever and first since 1976. 

The Germans barely made it through group play, with their lone win in Group C coming in a shootout against Norway. They were outscored 6-2 in losses against Finland and Sweden to finish ninth out of 12 teams in the playoff bracket. 

Going back even further, Germany hadn't won a game in men's hockey at the Olympics since 2002. 

Arash Madani of Sportsnet.ca noted the Germans are embracing the team's underdog status in this event:

Arash Madani @ArashMadani

Good for Germany. These dudes are hugging one another on the ice, in joy and disbelief. Wunder auf Eis, a German TV reporter yells at me. I ask, what does that mean? "Miracle On Ice."

There was a brief point in the third period against Canada when it seemed like Germany's luck was running out. The Canadians had a 15-1 shot advantage in the third period, scoring two goals in the first 10 minutes to cut their deficit to one. 

Germany was able to hang on, but that third period did give the Russian athletes a point of entry to know how they can get after goalie Danny aus den Birken.

Another fast start by Germany that knocks the Russian team back on its heels will be essential if it wants to pull off a second straight upset and win gold.

The Olympic Athletes from Russia have been the best team in the tournament so far, but miracles have happened against the juggernaut before. Germany has already defied the odds by making it this far, so one more win doesn't seem like the Herculean task it would have one week ago.

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