S. Korea hockey coach takes blame after Winter Olympics loss

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Gangneung (South Korea), Feb 17 (IANS) South Korean men’s Olympic hockey head coach Jim Paek put the blame squarely on his own shoulders after his squad was routed by Switzerland 0-8 on Saturday at the 2018 Winter Games.

Switzerland scored five times in the third period of the Group A contest in the men’s tournament at Gangneung Hockey Centre here.

A three-goal deficit heading into the final period would still have been difficult to overcome for South Korea, but the Swiss erased any lingering doubt that they would win this game with the late onslaught, reports Yonhap news agency.

It was a particularly embarrassing performance by South Korea after it held the sixth-ranked Czech Republic in check and lost by only 2-1 on Thursday.

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Paek, always protective of his players, said he was the only one to blame for the loss.

“That’s my fault. I take the blame for the guys. I didn’t prepare them,” Paek said. “I am the coach. I’ve got to get these guys going. I have to give them the game plan that they can execute. That’s my job.”

Paek also said Switzerland was far better prepared for this game than South Korea was, especially after the Swiss dropped their opening game against Canada by 5-1 on Thursday.

“(Swiss head coach Patrick Fischer) outcoached me for sure. They prepared better for this game,” he said. “After losing to Canada, they were hungry to win a game. They sure played that way.”

The tournament only gets tougher for 21st-ranked South Korea as it will next have to play world No. 1 Canada on Sunday.

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Asked how the team will bounce back and regroup after the rout, Paek simply answered, “I have to do a better job of preparing the guys.”

“We have to watch the video tonight and try to find a game plan where we can execute and be successful,” Paek said.

“I trust my players. I might change (the line-up) here and there. But they’ve found good chemistry within their lines. I just have to put them on the ice where they’re going to succeed, not fail.”

–IANS

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