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© AFP | Chris Kelly and Andrew Ebbett each scored twice as the Canadians captured their first Olympic bronze medal in half a century


Canada earned a measure of Olympic men's hockey redemption after a semi-final loss to Germany by defeating the Czech Republic 6-4 in Saturday's Pyeongchang bronze-medal game.

Chris Kelly and Andrew Ebbett each scored twice as the Canadians captured their first Olympic bronze medal in half a century. It was the sixth podium finish in the past eight Olympics for the hockey-mad nation, although the worst of them all.

A day after the Germans upset Canada 4-3 and Olympic Athletes from Russia blanked the Czechs 3-0 in the semis, the losers met for a consolation bronze so only one would go home empty-handed.

Canada's only prior men's hockey bronze medals came in 1968 at Grenoble and 1956 at Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Canadians had won three of the past four Olympic gold medals with their top NHL talent playing, but the NHL did not shut down this year for stars to play in Pyeongchang.

Many European sides used most of the same players as in the world championships, but Canadians typically stock world teams from NHL clubs not in playoff contention.

Canada has a record Olympic medal haul of 29 this month but two historically Canadian cultural touchstone sports, curling and hockey, have brought disappointment.

The women's hockey team settled for silver after four consecutive golds with a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States. Canada's men lost the curling bronze match to Switzerland, while the women didn't reach the medal playoffs.

Teams traded three goals in 31 seconds when scoring started on Ebbett's deflection goal that trickled through the legs of Czech goaltender Pavel Francouz 8:57 into the game.

Just 16 seconds later, Martin Ruzicka equalised only to have Canada captain Kelly answer 15 seconds after that, redirecting Cody Goloubef's shot past Francouz.

Derek Roy converted a backhand breakaway with 4:03 remaining in the first period for a 3-1 Canada lead.

Ebbett padded the margin with 14:10 to play only to have Czech Jan Kovar answer 46 seconds later. Kelly struck again and Wojtek Wolski added Canada's final goal before Roman Cervenka netted two late Czech goals to trim the final margin.

The Czechs missed out on a third podium finish in six Olympics after taking 2006 bronze at Turin and 1998 Nagano gold.

© 2018 AFP