After Going Shot For Shot, Olympic Athletes From Russia Win Men's Hockey Gold : The Torch The Olympic Athletes from Russia won 4-3 against Germany in a game where neither team had much to lose.
NPR logo After Going Shot For Shot, Olympic Athletes From Russia Win Men's Hockey Gold

After Going Shot For Shot, Olympic Athletes From Russia Win Men's Hockey Gold

David Wolf #89 of Germany attempts a shot against Vasili Koshechkin #83 of Olympic Athlete from Russia in the first period during the Men's Gold Medal Game. Harry How/Getty Images hide caption

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Harry How/Getty Images

David Wolf #89 of Germany attempts a shot against Vasili Koshechkin #83 of Olympic Athlete from Russia in the first period during the Men's Gold Medal Game.

Harry How/Getty Images

The Olympic Athletes from Russia won 4-3 in a game against Germany where neither team had much to lose.

Germany had defeated hockey powerhouses Sweden and Canada in the semifinals, and the Olympic Athletes from Russia were highly stacked. Neither country had medaled in men's hockey since 2002, when Russia won bronze.

With 0.5 seconds remaining in the first period, Russian Vyacheslav Voynov scored the first point of the match after an ambitious shot that made it past German goaltender Danny aus den Birken.

Germany brought the score to a tie with 10 minutes left in the second period, after a shot by Felix Schütz bounced off of goalkeeper Vasily Koshechkin and deflected off the body of Russian defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich across the goal line.

A steady back and forth continued, until Russian Nikita Gusev scored a point with 6:39 left in the third period. But the Russians relaxed — and just 10 seconds later, German frontman Dominik Kahun tied the game right back up, the stakes just as high as before.

With three minutes left in the third period, Jonas Müller broke the tie 3-2 with the cleanest shot of the game after a winning a puck battle against the Russians. This lead didn't last for long; either: With less than 60 seconds to go, Gusev scored again, and the teams were back to a tie.

About 15 minutes into sudden-death overtime, Gusev scored yet another goal — and the Russians threw off their helmets in celebration of winning gold.

The match was guaranteed to be Germany's best showing in men's hockey no matter the outcome: The team had won bronze in 1932, and West Germany won bronze in 1976. Their silver medal is the strongest performance Germany has ever shown in men's hockey, while Russia won gold in 1992 as the Unified Team.

Canada walked away with the bronze medal by beating the Czech Republic 6-4 after being knocked out for silver and gold by Germany.

The Russian athletes competed in neutral Olympic gear rather than Russian colors. The International Olympic Committee suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in 2017, citing a widespread culture of doping in Russia and alleged state-sponsored system of cheating.

Russian athletes were allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Games under a neutral Olympic flag and were required to pass rigorous doping tests. Going into Pyeongchang, the IOC said there was a chance Russia's athletes could march under their country's colors at the games' closing ceremony.

After two Russian athletes were disqualified over doping, the IOC voted to uphold the ban, meaning that athletes will once again leave their Russian colors at home in the closing ceremony.