February 12, 2022
By Steve Keating
BEIJING (Reuters) -China lost 3-2 to Germany in men’s ice hockey at the Beijing Winter Games on Saturday but celebrated just the same after giving the 2018 silver medallists a fright and scoring historic first goals at the Olympics.
Thumped 8-0 by the United States in their Olympic debut on Thursday, China looked headed to another lopsided defeat as Germany constructed a 3-0 lead midway through the game.
But China, playing with the belief that was missing against the U.S., came to life in the late stages of the contest with Fu Shuai scoring the hosts first ever Olympic goal in the second period and Wang Taile adding a powerplay tally in the third.
Canadian-born Fu made a bit of China sporting history with 46 seconds left in the second when he was left unmarked to the side of the German net and picked the top corner on Mathias Niederberger.
The goal triggered the biggest reaction heard in the National Indoor Stadium with the puck headed to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Hall of Fame in Zurich.
“For me it is obviously a huge honour and I will definitely remember it for a long time,” said Fu, known as Parker Foo when he was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round pick of 2017 NHL draft.
“There was no quitting in our team tonight. Obviously getting down three (goals), a lot of teams pack it in at that point but we have been working so long that we weren’t ready to give up.”
The arena was still buzzing when China added a second with Wang, another of China’s Canadian-born players.
Marcel Brandt, Kobinian Holzer and Dominik Kahun each counted once for Germany.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), champions in 2018, were also in an upbeat mood despite their 6-5 overtime loss to the Czech Republic as they still clinched top spot in Group B to become the first team through to the quarter-finals.
The Olympic format sees the three Group winners and the best second placed team advance to the knockout round. The eight remaining teams go into a qualification game, with the four survivors also advancing.
After generating just three goals in their opening two games, one of those into an empty net, the ROC attack came to life on Saturday by potting five goals.
But it still wasn’t enough with Ivan Fedotov having a rough night in the ROC net.
After 132 minutes of shutout hockey, Fedotov surrendered his first goal of the Olympics when Tomas Kundratek’s rocket from the blueline found its way through a crowd.
But there would be more, David Krejci and Michael Spacek scoring 35 seconds apart in the second and Lukas Klok and Tomas Hyka in the third and Libor Sulak the overtime winner.
In other Group B play, Olympic debutants Denmark beat Switzerland 5-3 while in Group A speedy United States raced past Canada 4-2 to win the battle of the North American neighbours.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Beijing, additional reporting Tony Munroe; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Pritha Sarkar)