Petr Loukal scored the lone shootout goal as the Czech Republic defeated the United States and advance to the medal round.
And the Czechs' superior fitness ultimately took its toll, as goals from Jan Kovar and Tomas Kundratek put them 2-1 ahead halfway through the second period after Ryan Donato had opened the scoring six minutes into the game with his fifth goal in five games. It was the USA team's first goal of the game and Donato's third goal in two days.
The U.S.'s Ryan Donato (Harvard University) scored the first goal of the match early in the first period, on a feed from Troy Terry (University of Denver) - but the Czech Republic answered with its own goal, and then another, to go up 2-1. US goaltender Ryan Zapolski allowed three goals on 29 shots and one in the shootout.
Zapolski kept the US alive with back-to-back saves on Czech Republic's third and fourth shooter, but the United States-including Ducks prospect Troy Terry-could not score.
"It was our dream before the tournament to go that far, but I really hope it's not the end", Francouz said.
"The guys qualified for the Olympic Games semifinal for the first time in 12 years".
"Not at all. I was so focused on this shootout", Hasek said by phone.
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"He's a really tough kid, and you see how much just of a natural goal-scorer he is", Terry said of Donato.
Donato and Terry have had fun and made some magic playing on a line with former National Hockey League forward Mark Arcobello, who Granato joked was the happiest person at the Olympics because of his skilled linemates. "We looked scrambled in that key moment", USA captain Brian Gionta said to NBC. Next up for the Americans was Donato, who could not get it past the Czech goalie. "We got still two games to go, but we know we have him and that's the most important". "To lose at the Olympics that way is pretty tough".
But the USA was unable to overcome a Czech team who bossed the quarterfinal matchup for long stretches, pinning the U.S.in its own defensive zone with a well-organized forecheck and crisp passing when they had possession.
The U.S. women's team has reached the gold medal game in their tournament, set to face Canada on Thursday in South Korea (11:10 p.m. ET Wednesday in the U.S.).
Former NHLer Jim Slater, whose shorthanded breakaway goal equalised for the Americans, leading to the over-time and shootout, was dismayed. The Americans were inches away from a victory several times - when Brian O'Neill clanked it off the bottom of the post with 2:40 left in the third period, when Bobby Sanguinetti's shot left the puck sitting in the crease in the final moments of overtime, when Donato couldn't get the puck past Francouz at the side of the net.
"I think people saw tonight we have a very fast team and a team that can play good hockey", Terry said.