PYEONGCHANG, South Korea -- Germany recorded the biggest upset of the men's Olympic hockey tournament on Friday by pulling off a 4-3 semifinal upset of defending champion Canada, setting up an unexpected gold medal matchup on Sunday against the Olympic Athletes from Russia.
Germany, seeded 10th among the 12 entrants, last won an Olympic medal in 1976, a bronze. Germany didn't qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympic tournament. The Olympic Athletes from Russia defeated the Czech Republic, 3-0, in the first semifinal on Friday at the Gangneung Hockey Centre, a victory clinched on an empty-net goal by former NHL standout Ilya Kovalchuk.
Top-seeded Canada won the last two men's Olympic gold medals but with a roster built around NHL stars. The NHL did not permit players to participate in the Pyeongchang Games, leaving teams to draw players from leagues across Europe. That became an equalizer and helped boost the chances of teams such as Germany that have few NHL players.
Germany took the lead in the first period on a five-on-three power-play goal by Brooks Macek, who was born in Winnipeg, Canada, and played his junior hockey in his homeland. They added second-period goals by Matthias Plachta and Frank Mauer before Gilbert Brule converted a power-play chance at 8:17. Brule was ejected later in the period for a check to the head and neck of Germany's David Wolf.
Patrick Hager padded Germany's lead to 4-1, but Canada's Mat Robinson trimmed that to 4-2 at 2:42 of the third. Canada goaltender Kevin Poulin, playing in place of the injured Ben Scrivens, stopped a penalty shot by Dominik Kahun at 3:21 of the third to keep Canada in the game.
Canada closed the gap to 4-3 on a power-play goal by Derek Roy from close range at 9:42 of the third period but Germany goalie Danny Aus Den Birken, who plays in his country's elite league, withstood intense pressure and held on for the win.
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Canada will face the Czech Republic for the bronze medal on Saturday.
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