"We know we have a tough game in front of us", Czech captain Martin Erat said.
Unlike the Czech squad, which brought more global experience and had beaten Canada in a shootout in the preliminary round, the US roster was only announced a month before the Opening Ceremony, giving the team little time to gel as a team.
"It's tough when it comes down to the shootout", United States captain Brian Gionta said.
That chance is gone for the USA, which improved throughout the tournament but looked somewhat tired after needing to play Slovakia in the qualification round Tuesday while the Czechs rested.
Koukal, the second Czech to shoot, deked around US netminder Ryan Zapolski for the only goal of the shootout as the Americans could not get a puck past Pavel Francouz, who stopped all five shots.
Donato and Jim Slater scored in regulation for the U.S., which again was led by its youngest players, including Terry. The Czech Republic's Pavel Francouz stopped 18 in regulation and overtime.
"Sorry to let him down on that on that", Terry said. Eric O'Dell pushed Veli-Matti Savinainen into Ben Scrivens in the 2nd period meaning that Canada had to make a goalie change and Scrivens was sent to the room while Kevin Poulin took over the netminding duties to keep Canada's net safe.
"He's always been someone that can raise his game in the big games", Chuck Terry, Troy's father, said.
'That part's not that surprising. "To lose at the Olympics that way is pretty tough".
The goal was Donato's fifth in five games, passing his father and Harvard coach, Ted, who scored four for the U.S. at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville.
The Czechs answered late in the period when Jan Kolar's rocket from the point sailed past Zapolski.
Team Canada went on the ice in probably what seemed to be the closest and most boring game in of the day - Finland - Canada played 60 minutes of hockey, but managed to score only a single goal.
Just over two minutes later with the USA on another penalty kill and looking in serious trouble, Brian O'Neill flashed his speed once again and found Slater on the rush for the former Atlanta Thrashers forward's first goal of the tournament.
Former NHLer Jim Slater, whose shorthanded breakaway goal equalised for the Americans, leading to the over-time and shootout, was dismayed.
"I thought we were good enough to win a medal, but I guess not", said Slater, a 35-year-old who spent 10 seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers and Winnipeg Jets before moving to Switzerland.
With 35 seconds left in overtime, United States defenceman Bobby Sanguinetti's shot hit Francouz and sat in the crease, but the goalie was able to cover up.
The teams traded chances in the third period and O'Neill clanked a shot off the crossbar with just under three minutes left on an odd-man rush.
Then with 1:20 left in regulation the USA were handed another opportunity when Vojtech Mozik was sent off for slashing but the Americans could not convert the man advantage sending the contest to overtime. Russian Federation will face the Czech Republic next.