Winter Olympics Final Day: OAR clinch Olympic ice hockey gold
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Feb 26, 2018,
Feb 26, 2018, 2:10
And that's exactly what happened on Sunday - Saturday night in South Korea - when the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), a team playing for recognition that won't ever officially be credited to Russia thanks to highly publicized doping sanctions, took home hockey's top worldwide prize, edging Germany, 4-3, in overtime to close the 2018 men's ice hockey tournament.
Germany tied up the game with 10 minutes left in the second period after a shot made by Felix Schutz bounced of Russia's goalkeeper Vasily Koshechkin and deflected off of Russian defensive player Bogdan Kiselevich and crossed the goal line.
At their medal ceremony, the players team sang the Russian anthem over the sound of the Olympic anthem at the Gangneung Hockey Centre despite being barred from having their flag raised or anthem played. Nikita Gusev scored two third period goals, including a shorthanded marker to tie the game very late in the third period.
At a Winter Games with seemingly as many political stories as athletic ones, it was also inevitable that Russian Federation, a country that, on paper, had already been banned from Olympics participation for two months, would benefit from that. Kirill Kaprizov scored the victor on the power play. More than 200 fans that cheered for the team all tournament sang the Russian anthem, too, but the players did them one better and bellowed the anthem over the top of the Olympic anthem as the Olympic flag rose to the rafters. The Olympic governing body ruled that only "clean" Russian athletes would be able to compete in South Korea, under a neutral flag.
The Germans still go home with the best medal they've ever won in hockey: silver. "This match was the most important one in my life".
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Pavel Datsyuk, captain of Russian Federation, refused to acknowledge that his team hadn't won the medal for the country. Pavel Datsyuk said after the game, "It feels good to have accomplished my dream".
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, just before declaring the games closed, addressed the two Koreas' cooperation at the closing ceremony, saying, "The Olympic games are an homage to the past and an act of faith for the future".
They were representing "Olympic Athletes from Russia" under strict guidelines including a ban on Russia's flag, national colors and the national anthem. Russian Federation faced off against a disciplined and strong Germany. In the second, Germany continued to hold steady and refused to allow many - or any, really - quality chances against in the opening half of the frame, and holding OAR off the board in the early going paid incredible dividends as the midpoint of the period approached.
Canada won gold in the first men's hockey event in Antwerp in 1920, and kept the gold streak up for the following three winter games. The 2-1 lead was incredibly short-lived, as Germany answered back just seconds later thanks to a blistering slapshot from Dominik Kahun.