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Czech Republic Beats Slovakia 5-2, Earns 5th Place

Sometimes it doesn’t matter which team won because neither team can leave their disappointment on the ice. This was one of those games. For the Czech Republic, this was not where the team wanted to finish their 2012 IIHF World Juniors tournament. And for the Slovakians, they wanted to end this tournament with a win.

“We won which is important, but we had a chance against Russia which is still disappointing for us.” Oilers’ prospect and Vancouver Giant David Musil said, trying to look for the positives in this victory, as odd as that sounds.

Ultimately, Musil knows that his team did well at this year’s tournament. “If you had told us before the tournament that we would be fifth, then I think that we would all be pretty satisfied but now that we saw that we had a chance to beat Russia, it’s pretty disappointing. Now it’s over and we can’t do anything about it. But fifth place is still not bad.”

Not bad at all, but of course there are better awards to be won. With all players from the Czech team still discussing the Monday’s 2-1 overtime loss to Russia, you know that the sting of a fifth place finish instead of the chance at a medal will not go away by morning.

The Czech Republic came out of the gate fast and furious, overwhelming the Slovakian team with shots and keeping the play in the Slovakian end. A hard shot from Czech best player of the game Radek Faska at the hash marks at 5:15 in the first period gave the Czech’s their first lead of the game, and they never looked back. Faska’s goal was nearly three full minutes before the Slovakian’s registered their first shot on net.

Slovakia struggled to keep pace with the Czechs, but the task was made the more difficult due to a series of penalties. Between power plays, Petr Holik scored an even strength goal giving the Czechs a two goal lead.

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The Czech’s second goal was followed up with a full two minute 2 man advantage power play as Slovakian best player of the game Adam Janosik took a cross-checking penalty and Marko Dano earned himself an interference penalty.

Short by two players and down by two goals, the Slovakians didn’t stand much chance against the aggressive Czech team. With his power play goal, Vojtech Mozik gave the Czechs a 3 goal lead.

During the second intermission, Slovakian head coach Ernest Bokros did what he could to settle his team down. Speaking through a translator, Bokros recalls “I just talked to them. It was a little pep talk because you don’t want to leave the last game of the tournament like that. Because it was the last game, they should show up and play the level that they are at.”

Although the Slovakians continued to take penalty after penalty, the team found scoring from Milos Bubela, and only allowed a single goal from Dominik Uher.

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The Slovakian team that returned to play the second period may have continued to take penalties, but certainly played a better penalty kill, sometimes only allowing a single shot for the man advantage.

The final frame saw yet another 3 penalties for the Slovakians, a power play goal from Tomas Filippi, and a goal for Slovakia from Matus Chovan.

For the Slovakians, their third period was arguably their best. The team matched the Czechs in scoring, successfully killed their penalties with the exception of one and outshot their opponents. It was too little too late.

“It wasn’t disciplined,” Says Oilers prospect and current Edmonton Oil King Martin Gernat of his team’s performance. “We were always on the penalty kill, and we were so tired.” The Marty Party, Martin Gernat and Martin Marincin spent a majority of their time on ice killing penalties rather than looking for shots from the point, something the two can be extremely productive with.

It’s difficult to find scoring chances when you are constantly down a man. Slovakian Coach Bokros admitted “The team wasn’t responsible enough. I think that some of the players from north America were not prepared for the system that we have so that is why we ended up in the penalty box.”


For the Czechs, assistant coach Fischer saw many positives in his team’s game, but there is always room for improvement. “I would like to see much better details that we would have followed in the game. There were too many turnovers and way too many odd rushes that we gave up. Peter was very good in net so it was very nice that he kept us in the game.”

Czech goaltender Petr Mrazek was once again nothing short of genius. Mrazek turned aside 44 of 46 shots and gave his team the extra edge needed to take fifth place. 

 

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Although neither team had the finish they wanted to their tournament, both should be happy with their fifth and sixth place finishes as both are more than respectable and not every team can win every game. Just ask team USA and team Canada.

Thursday is the final day of World Juniors hockey in Calgary. The bronze medal game between Canada and Finland takes place at 1:30pm MST and the gold medal game between Russia and Sweden is at 8pm MST.

Although in some ways disappointed, it quickly became evident while speaking with David Musil that the Czech team may get over the loss a little sooner than later. Perhaps we will see more of this on Thursday:

 

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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.

Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.

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