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Men's Olympic Hockey Recap: Group B Set, Final Seeding to Be Determined Sunday

The United States beat Canada, Russia and Denmark finished as the top seeds in Group B and Germany avoided a late-game collapse to China on the second last day of preliminary round action in the men's Olympic hockey tournament.
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USA Tops Canada in Battle of North America

A young American team has improved to 2-0 after beating Canada in the highly anticipated Group A match 4-2.

USA will look to officially win the group with a win against Germany on Sunday. The win comes just two days after the Americans shut out China 8-0, while Canada was looking to build off of a big 5-1 win over Germany. Canada will round out the preliminary round against China on Sunday.

Regardless of the final result, Canada struck first at 1:24. Eric Staal and Josh Ho-Sang did some work to get the puck out to Mat Robinson near the boards, with the defenseman sending a harmless-looking shot towards the net. American netminder Strauss Mann wasn't prepared for the shot and it went in, giving Canada the 1-0 lead.

USA's captain answered back in a big way a minute later. Andy Miele blew past a Canadian defender and backhanded the shot over Edward Pasquale to tie the game up.

Pasquale struggled to look comfortable, and he'd surrender the next two goals. Ben Meyers scored at 18:44 after Pasquale slipped in the crease behind a scramble in front, with Meyers tipping the puck in.

At 22:37, things went from bad to worse for Canada. Brendan Brisson scored after Nick Shore stole the puck off of Pasquale behind the Canadian net, getting the puck to Brisson in the slot for the 3-1 goal.

Canada, though, wouldn't leave the second without adding another on the board. With Eric Staal in the box, Daniel Winnik set up Corban Knight on the shorthanded rush at 34:13 to make it 3-2.

Goaltending was a concern for Canada, with Pasquale struggling to look comfortable. That was amplified on USA's fourth goal when Kenny Agostino took a shot from far out that trickled past Pasquale and in for the 4-2 goal.

Canada desperately did whatever they could to get themselves back into the game. With under five minutes left, Canada found themselves on a two-man advantage, using the point to help generate offense. Canada came up short there and ultimately couldn't get the job done, with the United States holding on for the 4-2 victory.

Czechs Beat Russia in Overtime to Finish Group B Play

Russia dropped its final game of the round robin after losing 6-5 to the Czech Republic in one of the craziest games of the men's Olympic hockey tournament.

The game ended Group B preliminary round play, with Russia taking the top spot with seven points, Denmark sitting second with six and the Czech Republic and Switzerland closing out the pact. The rest of the qualification round seedings will be finalized on Sunday when Group A and Group C finish play.

The Russians struck first at 4:51. Vladimir Tkachyov beat Simon Hrubec with a hard shot after a pressure-packed start to the game by the Russians. The Czechs would answer back at 12:37 when Tomas Kundratek's shot beat a screened Ivan Fedotov, the first goal he allowed all tournament long in his third start of the tournament.

The game remained tied until 32:19 when Nikita Nesterov's point shot blew through open ice and beat Hrubec to restore Russia's lead.

But that's when everything went bananas.

A penalty to Dmitry Voronkov at 37:34 proved to be extremely costly for the Russians, giving the Czechs a five-minute power play. David Krejci scored at 18:42 on a one-timer opportunity before Michael Spacek walked in and blasted a shot that squeaked past Fedetov's blocker and in for the 3-2 goal.

The Czechs finally scored a 5-on-5 goal against Fedotov. At 43:14, Lukas Klok would use traffic in front of the Russian net to fire the puck in for his first goal of the tournament, giving the Czechs a two-goal lead.

struggled through the first two games, scoring just three goals, with one being an empty-netter. But at 3:50, Kirill Semyonov scored to make it 4-3 before Arseni Gritsyuk flew by a defender to tie the game at four apiece.

But the scoring wasn't done. Russia took the lead back at 48:22 when Andrei Chibisov beat Hrubec with a shot that seemed to surprise Hrubec, who was unprepared for the opportunity. Speaking of surprise, Tomas Hyka scored 35 seconds later when his shot from below the goal line bounced off the leg of an unsuspecting Fedotov for the 5-5 goal.

The game required overtime to decide the victor, the second such game to go beyond the scheduled distance for the Czech Republic in a row. With Alexander Nikishin in the box for slashing, Lukas Sulak scored a power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the extra frame to give the Czechs the win, similar to the team's result against the Swiss in the shootout two days prior.

Germany Avoids Collapse Against China

China scored its first two Olympic goals, but Germany managed to hold on in a 3-2 win on Saturday.

It was a little too close for comfort for Germany, which won its first game of the tournament after winning silver in 2018. Germany lost 5-1 to Canada in its opener, while China lost 8-0 to the Americans and were just looking for something positive on the ice.

The shots were 38-16 in favor of Germany, who limited China to just two shots in the third.

It was a good start for China, which knew that an early goal would be important due to their overall inexperience. At one point, they owned a 5-3 shot advantage and generally made Mathias Niederberger have to work hard for his saves.

Ultimately, they couldn't find the offense and Germany was able to take over. At 9:04, Daniel Pietta beat Jeremy Smith, who was taken out by German defenseman Moritz Muller in a collision in the crease. The goal was originally deemed good, but a coach's challenge by China had it overturned.

It wouldn't matter for long because Germany answered back in a big way shortly after. Marcel Brandt scored on his own rebound after rushing down the ice, taking a shot, beating the Chinese defenders back to retrieve the puck before putting it past Smith for the marker.

Three minutes after that, former NHL defenseman Marcel Brandt wired a wrist shot from the point after a faceoff win from Dominik Kahun and sent it over Smith's head and in for the 2-0 goal. Kahun then scored one of his own at 24:41 after tipping in Moritz Muller's point shot, putting the score well out of reach before the halfway mark of the contest.

Penalty troubles caused Germany to play on its heels for most of the second period, leaving the ice without another goal. China, however, would score a historic goal. In the final minute of the middle stanza, Parker Foo scored on a rebound opportunity from Jake Chelios and beat a sprawled Niederberger for the 3-1 goal.

Then, on the power play at 49:00, Tyler Wong made his mark. Wong would one-time a pass from Brandon Yip and made no mistake on its placement, cutting the deficit to just one. Germany allowed just one shot after that point and played good shutdown defense, holding on to the win in a game that was much closer than they likely expected.

Both teams will complete the round-robin on Sunday, with China meeting up with Canada and Germany looking to stop an undefeated American squad.

Denmark Clinches Third in Group B

Denmark will finish Group B round-robin play as the second seed after beating Switzerland 5-3.

Denmark's storybook start to their first Olympics started with a win over the Czech Republic and a close game against Russia, one of the favorites to win gold in Beijing. The win against Switzerland means the Danes will finish the round-robin with a 2-1 record and second place in Group B, with the final rankings of all 12 teams to be determined on Sunday.

Despite the final score, the Swiss were the first to celebrate. At 15:59, Yannick Weber dropped below the goal line and found Enzo Corvi standing alone in front of the crease. Corvi wasted no time directing the puck behind Sebastian Dahm for the 1-0 goal, the only marker of the first.

But an early period attack gave Denmark the lead. Just 46 seconds in, Peter Regin scored on the man advantage, only to have Frederik Storm tip in a Nicholas Jensen shot 19 seconds later for the 2-1 goal. Mikael Boedker then scored Denmark's third of the game at 13:12 to give them their first two-goal lead of the tournament.

Switzerland struggled to clear the crease and kept allowing the Danes to walk in and create scoring chances. That's exactly what happened 1:55 into the third when Nicolai Meyer skated in and knocked in a Nicholas Jensen rebound past a sprawled Berra for the 4-1 goal.

Switzerland finally had a bit of a resurgence late in the game. At 44:53. Romain Loeffel's one-timer was too much for Dahm to handle, only for Fabrice Herzog to score a similar goal with three minutes left in regulation. Switzerland hoped for a late goal to tie things up, by Frederik Storm's empty-netter finished things off, forcing Switzerland to finish the preliminary round without a victory.

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Three Stars

1. Frederik Storm, DEN: With two goals, including the goal that put the game to rest, and an assist to go along with them, Storm made an impact in a big way.

2. Andy Miele, USA: With a goal and an assist, his play helped lead the charge that put the Americans ahead.

3. Parker Foo, CHN: Props for the history-making goal. And, beyond that, he actually had a good overall game for China.

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