The teams tied at the 2002 Olympics and Canada won in 1994 and 2006.
In a game that brilliantly wavered between exciting and excruciating - especially when the stakes ratcheted through overtime and a shootout - ultimately Canada couldn't complete the task.
Canada will take on South Korea, a fledgling program that features a half-dozen Canadians, on Saturday while the Czechs face Switzerland. But Jan Kovar and Michal Repik restored a sense of normalcy by scoring later in the period, and the Czechs dominated play from there to survive a serious scare. "We can just move on to the next game now".
After a slick deke that briefly beat Czech goalie Pavel Francouz, Noreau had to watch in desperation as the puck trickled towards the net before ultimately bouncing off the bottom of the right post. His linemates, Michael Swift and Brock Radunske, each got an assist, and they were the best line for South Korea in this one.
It outshot its opponent 33-21, but its offense couldn't put the game away when required.
When a reporter suggested to Mike Testwuide, U.S. -born forward, that it was surprising to see South Korea play so well, the naturalized player laughed and said, "I don't know what you guys expected".
Fitting, perhaps, that Saturday's misstep came 20 years after one of the most crushing losses in Canadian Olympic hockey history, the semi-final defeat to the Czechs that also came via the dreaded shootout.
Ice Hockey - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Preliminary Round Match - Canada v Czech Republic - Gangneung Hockey Centre, Gangneung, South Korea - February 17, 2018 - Rene Bourque of Canada in action during the first period.
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"We played hard", said Desjardins.
"I know people will look at the 2-1 score and say we did pretty well", he said.
That means both teams get a spot directly in the tournament semi-finals and three days off before their next games while Finland, the Olympic Athletes from Russia, Switzerland and Sweden battle it out in the quarter-final round.
The Czechs have once again created equal, in the beginning of the second twenty.
Canada continued to wobble in the first period, harried by the Czechs in their own end. Kubalik was able to beat Scrivens.
But that lead disappeared just 25 seconds into the second period when a loose puck squirted out to Jordan in the slot, where he snapped it home. Scrivens, who had mishandled the puck seconds earlier, stopped a Michal Birner shot but Jordan banged in the rebound.
Forward Andrew Ebbett limped off midway through the third period, favouring his leg after being sandwiched by a pair of Czechs near centre ice. The Czechs did not help their cause late in the period when Canada defenceman Chris Lee ended up in their bench, prompting an interference call.