The Canadian men’s hockey team deserve accolades for not letting their disappointment in failing to make the gold medal game filter into their minds as they faced the Czech Republic for the bronze medal.
There is little to be ashamed about in winning a bronze medal, and while the goal is always gold, the reality is Canada did not go home empty handed, adding another medal win in its long steeped hockey reputation. The win brings Canada’s medal tally to eleven golds, eight silvers and ten bronze medals in an Olympic Games that saw Canadian athletes dominating speed skating and Ski Cross events.
Chris Kelly and Andrew Ebbett both scored two goals, Roy scored one goal as did Wojtek Wolski giving Canada a 6-4 victory over the Czech’s. Kevin Poulin has a solid performance in the net shutting down the Czechs and preventing them from getting the upper hand.
While Canada always aims for a gold medal victory, and bronze may not have been what they were after, the twenty-five players and goalies played as hard in the bronze game as they did in their overtime loss to Germany.
While there will be regret over the overtime loss, it is one of those things that help bring a team together or can destroy it, in Canada’s case, it brought them together with a single goal, bring home the bronze medal. Has Canada succeeded against Germany, the odds were not in their favour to beat Russia, and that denied chance makes it that much more frustrating.
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 24, 2018
For Coach Mike Babcock, his job was to make sure that frustration didn’t spill out onto the ice, and it was not an easy task. However, Babcock coached the 2010 Gold Medal team and again coached in 2014 and not wanting to let disappointment impact the bronze medal game, Babcock said you have to “get your mindset right” stating,
“There’s a medal on the line and, as an Olympian, you can be disappointed all you want, but you’ve got a chance to win a medal for your country and you want to dig in and take advantage of that,” he continued. “I can tell you right now, the last time I was home someone said, ‘Hey, do you have a medal here?’ They dug it out of a drawer or whatever and looked at it – it’s cool.
He continued by adding,
“Like, they’re freakin’ nice. I mean your whole life you get to be an Olympic medallist, so get past now. The disappointment’s over and it’s about getting ready for the next one.”
As the game got underway in the first-period, Canada looked strong against the Czech team who seemed equally determined. Canada took the lead early that three goals scored in just over 30 seconds.
Andrew Ebbett was first to score when a pass from Mat Robinson was deflected during a power play and bounced off his skate passing Pavel Francouz. A mere 16 seconds later, the Czechs scored when Martin Ruzicka got a shot past Poulin. Then, only seconds later, Chris Kelly scored after he tapped in a shot to give Canada a 2-1 lead.
At 15:57 of the first period Derek Roy added another goal to Canada’s lead affording the team some room to breathe when he joined a two-on-one rush with Brandon Kozun and putting the puck between Francouz’s legs.
The second period went scoreless with Canada going into the third 3-1, however as third-period action got underway, things heated up. Andrew Ebbett managed to take a redirected pass from Kozun and make it 4-1, with the Czech’s Jan Kovar took a loose puck and made it 4-2. Three minutes later Chris Kelly scored making it 5-4, and Wojtek Wolski added one more to Canada’s goal count giving Canada a 6-4 lead and bringing the hopes of the Czech team to a close