GANGNEUNG, South Korea, Feb 15 (Reuters) - The Czech Republic men’s ice hockey team edged out South Korea 2-1 on Thursday but had to come from behind against an impressive Olympic debut performance by the host country.
The Koreans, ranked 21st in the world, jumped out to a surprise 1-0 lead over the sixth-ranked Czechs in the first period. Cho Min-ho took a feed in the slot from Brock Radunske, one of six Canadians on the team, and fired a wrist shot past Czech goalkeeper Pavel Francouz.
The goal sent the near-capacity crowed at the Gangneung Hockey Centre into delirium.
While it took the unified Korean women’s team nearly 150 minutes of playing time to notch their first goal, which came on Wednesday against Japan, the South Korean men accomplished the same feat in 7 minutes and 34 seconds.
The Czechs, including several ex-NHL players and 15 who play in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, levelled about four minutes later when Jan Kovar tapped in a pass from Michal Repik, beating South Korean goaltender Matt Dalton to the glove side.
They took the lead on a short-handed goal. Repik, who played 72 games over four seasons with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, intercepted a puck as the Koreans were trying to break out of their zone and charged the goal.
Dalton stopped his first shot, but the puck trickled behind him and Repik whacked it into the net.
Reporting by Dan Burns, editing by Ed Osmond