The Olympic Athletes from Russia have won that nation’s first Men’s Olympic Hockey Gold Medal since 1992. That year, it was another weirdly named team as the country competed as the Unified Team, with other former Soviet republics, following the fall of Soviet Union.
On Saturday night, the team beat the Germany 3 to 2 in overtime. Kirill Kaprizov scored the winner on the power play. Nikita Gusev scored two third period goals, including a shorthanded marker to tie the game very late in the third period.
“We understood the whole thing from the start so we were calm about it,” coach Oleg Znarok said. “Russia is in our hearts.”
“When you play for your country and I win this medal, this special time it’s more important,” Pavel Datsyuk said. “I have accomplished my dream. Now I have no dream.”
For the Germans, the silver is their first medal since 1976 when they won a Bronze Medal after beating Finland. It’s also their best ever finish in ice hockey. Prior to this medal, Germany’s ice hockey has combined for an underwhelming two bronze medals, both coming from the Men’s team in 1976 and 1932.
Olympic Athletes of Russia Win 2018 Men’s Hockey Gold Medal
Germany’s experience in PyeongChang has been notable, to say the least. Led by former NHL players Marcel Goc and Christian Ehroff, the team went farther than anyone expected. This includes a 5-4 win over Team Canada, a win that propelled Germany to the final round. They also trumped Sweden and Switzerland, two strong hockey countries.
The biggest difference between Russia’s and Germany’s teams is the number of NHL players they boast. Russia’s team is loaded with former NHL talent. Detroit Red Wings Legend, Pavel Datsyuk, is the captain of the team. He doesn’t match their top talent, though. Ilya Kovalchuk, the highly criticized former New Jersey Devil, recorded seven points throughout the tournament. Nikita Gusev, who was selected in the 2012 NHL draft but never saw his debut, led the Russians in points going into the Gold Medal game.
The Germans only have two NHL veterans on their roster. Ehrhoff played in 11 NHL seasons, split amongst seven teams. Goc played in 10 NHL seasons with five teams. Both players started their career with the San Jose Sharks in 2003, and both returned to the DEL.
Germany’s top scorer, Patrick Hager, was never even drafted into the NHL. Hager, who tallied six points, has instead played his entire career in Germany. The 29-year-old currently has 27 points in 49 games, in Germany’s top professional hockey league; the DEL.
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