Team USA Drops Bronze-Medal Game to Czechia

Czechia got the lone of the middle stanza. It came at 12:12 on a fortuitous play as a bouncing puck was blocked at the top of the crease by Peeke, hung in his equipment, but ultimately dropped to the ice where Jiri Smejkahl put it home. Boldy made a nifty move with just over two minutes in the period and sent a hard wrister to the net that went off the shoulder of Czechia netminder Karel Vejmelka.

Czechia opened the third period with back-to-back goals in the first 2:30, taking the lead at 4-3. Czechia continued to push early in the period, eventually grabbing a fourth consecutive goal to take a 5-3 lead. Swayman and the U.S. penalty kill faced a double Czechia power play midway through the final frame, but all were up to the task, effectively stopping any additional Czech advantage.

The U.S. had a power play opportunity to try and bring the lead to one, but after a turnover in the neutral zone, Czechia quickly found themselves all alone on a breakaway. Swayman made the initial save, sprawling out to his left, but the U.S. were unable to clear the loose puck as Czech put in the rebound.

Team USA pulled their netminder for an extra attacker, including a 6-on-4 power play advantage, in hopes of getting an offensive push, but it was Czech that would score on an empty net goal in the final two minutes. Thomas Bordeleau (Houston, Texas) tapped in a centering pass for Team USA’s fourth goal, but it wouldn’t be enough as the scoreboard read an 8-4 final, after a final minute goal from Czechia.


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