Denmark made history by recording its first win in its first men's Olympic game, beating Czech Republic 2-1 to open Group B play in Beijing.
The Danes, who hold a 2-0-1 record over the Czech Republic over the past three World Championship games, qualified for the tournament in late 2021 after winning a qualification tournament. A usual mainstay in the top division of the World Championship, Denmark had come close on multiple occasions, but only managed to reach the men's Olympic stage for the first time in Beijing.
Denmark's first goal came on the team's third shot of the game 11 minutes in. Markus Lauridsen's shot would go off a defenseman's stick in front of the net and would beat Simon Hrubec up high, giving the Danes a surprising 1-0 lead after getting outshot 12-3 at that point.
Good goaltending from Sebastian Dahm kept the Danes in control, despite getting outshot 17-4 in the first period. On a late penalty shot by Frans Nielsen, the former NHLer helped take the momentum gained by the team's strong goaltending performance by scoring on a penalty shot to make it 2-0, a surprising lead given the dominance by the Czechs with the puck.
The Czechs finally found some puck luck early in the second. At 23:45, Roman Cervenka scored his first of the tournament when his shot soared over the right arm of Dahm and in to make it 2-1. It sparked the Czechs to push the play even further, but Dahm held on for the remaining 37 minutes in a 39-save effort to steal the biggest win in Danish hockey history to date.
"This is a huge moment for Danish hockey," Denmark coach Heinz Ehlers said. "We are normally not at the Olympics. In May, we played a really good World Championship. To win a game like this, we are very excited and so happy and proud right now."