IIHF World Championship roundup: Czech Republic and Slovakia earn late victories


IIHF World Championship roundup: Czech Republic and Slovakia earn late victories

Czech Republic celebrate a goal against Great Britain
Czech Republic celebrate a goal against Great BritainProfimedia
Switzerland destroyed Denmark 8-0 thanks to three goals from Kevin Fiala and Nico Hischier, to secure their playoff spot and returned to the top of Group A on day eight of the IIHF World Championship.

Sweden lost a 2-0 lead to Latvia in Ostrava, but went on to a convincing 7-2 win, scoring in their fifth game at the World Championship and are also assured of a place in the quarter-finals.

Denmark 0 Switzerland 8

The Swiss, who are undefeated at the championship, took the lead after four minutes. Kevin Fiala charged into the left circle, giving the puck to Nico Hischier, who slotted in at the opposite post. The Danes then fought back on a Matthias Lassen faceoff.

In the 18th minute, captain Roman Josi was found by a Danish cross and delivered a backhand strike past goalie Frederik Dichow.

After 39 seconds of the second period, the Swiss punished Nick Olesen's foul from the end of the first period. Andres Ambuhl passed to Fiala in the left circle, who beat a diving Dichow.

Fiala scored for the second time at 23:58. After a pass from Hischier, he didn't have time to finish at the left post, but he slid the puck past Dichow at the other post after going around the net. The Danes failed to reduce the deficit when Calvin Thurkauf was sent off. They then defended on two shorthanded opportunities, but cashed in again in the 34th minute. Darius Simion's pass was converted by Sven Senteler.

Mathias Seldrup replaced Dichow for the third period. After 23 seconds, Patrick Russell got the puck behind Genoni, but referees Jan Hribik and Mikko Kaukokari disallowed the goal after a video review. In the 43rd minute, Thurkauf broke free shorthanded and beat Seldrup with a backhand bluff. Christoph Bertschy then scored and Tristan Scherwey completed the scoring in the 55th minute after a rebound from a Bertschy shot.

Latvia 2 Sweden 7

Latvia knocked out the Swedes in the quarter-finals of last year's championship, but this time they failed to catch the favourites by surprise. Sweden took the lead in the fifth minute when Rasmus Dahlin hit the bar. Two minutes later, his partner in the third defensive pairing, Jonas Brodin, added another. Janis Jaks could have reduced the deficit, but he hit the bar. At the turn of the first and second period the Latvians survived the first shorthanded period and then managed to equalise within 23 seconds.

First Kaspars Daugavins scored his fourth goal of the tournament, then Brodin knocked down Roberts Mamcics' shot with his skate into his own net. The Swedes then lost Dahlin, who was sent to the booth early for a foul on Haralds Egle. But the Latvians didn't take advantage of the shortened powerplay and Sweden decided the game in a flash. First, Fabian Zetterlund scored twice within 17 seconds, and nine seconds later Elvis Merzlikins was beaten by Joel Eriksson Ek.

The Latvians tried to stop the onslaught with a timeout, but two minutes after it, Marcus Pettersson scored from the blue line and Ericks Vitols came on for Merzlikins. Indrasis could have reduced the deficit, but Gustavsson was again helped by the net. In the third period, the Swedes missed a 70-second power play, Eriksson Ek hit the bar. But in the end they got their seventh goal. Marcus Johansson scored shortly before the end of the game.

Canada 5 Finland 3

Finland got off to a great start and after just 95 seconds Jesse Puljujarvi scored with a quick finish. Moments later, Canada's star youngster Connor Bedard was penalised for slashing and the Finns punished - Valtteri Puustinen scored in the fourth minute.

Canadian captain John Tavares could have responded, but Finnish goalie Harri Sateri made a good save. In the 15th minute, Dylan Cozens reduced the deficit from close range. 97 seconds later, Brandon Tanev tied the game, despite the referees taking their time to award the goal.

In the second period, both teams took turns on the powerplay. In the 29th minute, Dawson Mercer was through on goal with his side shorthanded, but he did not beat Sateri. Just a moment later, the Finnish goalkeeper was helped by a shot from Nick Paul, already on level terms. 

In the 37th minute, Puljujarvi scored for the second time in the match and the Finns regained the lead. Shortly afterwards, Canadian back Bowen Byram was sent off for five minutes and the rest of the match, but Puljujarvi also received a minor penalty. On a four-on-four, Power took advantage of the space on the ice to tie the game.

The Finns played the rest of the powerplay out at the start of the third period, but did not retake the lead. In the 46th minute, Saku Maenalanen tested Jordan Binnington's focus. Moments later, Hannes Bjorninen committed a foul, but the Canadians were not effective the powerplay. Soon after though, took the lead for the first time in the 52nd minute. Pierre-Luc Dubois won the puck behind the net, Tavares pulled the goalie and Brandon Hagel had an easy job to convert after the pass.

In the 58th minute, Arttu Hyry had a great chance to equalise from close range, but he missed. Moments later, the Finns called a timeout and with 100 seconds left in regulation time, Sateri went to the bench and his team tried to score with six skaters in the game. But instead of equalising, Mercer brought the puck into the empty net and sealed the win for Canada.

Germany 4 Poland 2

The Germans had scored 16 goals in the previous two games against Latvia and Kazakhstan, but this time they were floundering offensively as they ran out 4-2 winners in Ostrava. Their opponents, Poland, had just one point going into the game from five games but they started the better and could have taken the lead in the first powerplay, but Krzysztof Macias did not beat goalie Mathias Niederberger.

The favourites Germany gained momentum at the end of the first period. But goalkeeper David Zabolotny, who played this season in the German second league Freiburg, held his team.

The stalemate ended in the 25th minute. First Macias did not score from a promising position, then Germany's Alex Ehl scored on the counter-attack with a shot off the bar. The Germans added a second goal from a penalty shot ordered for a Krystian Dziubinski fumble. JJ Peterka did the rest, beating Zabolotny with a shot between the legs.

Yasin Ehliz added the Germans' third goal in the 45th minute, finding the gap between the bar and Zabolotny's post. After Wojtek Stachowiak then missed his chance, the Poles reduced the deficit. , but In the 54th minute - six minutes from time - Niederberger was surprised by Patryk Wajda, who deflected the puck over the line from behind the net. The Poles came alive and two minutes later it was 3-2 when Filip Komorski scored.

But, the Germans hung tough and when Peterka added his second of the game three minutes from time, they erased all hope of a Polish fightback to earn all three points and leave themselves in control of their own destiny to qualify for the quarter-finals.

France 2 Slovakia 4

After a cautious start on both sides, Juraj Slafkovsky could have opened the scoring in the fifth minute, but he did not beat goalkeeper Sebastian Ylonen. Soon after, the Germans then hit the bar but then the Slovaks then played two powerplays in a row, however they did not create any significant chances - only Marko Dano's cross was dangerous.

The French also played two powerplays in quick succession, as Pavol Regenda was sent off immediately after his first return to the ice. But his teammates held on for four minutes of shorthanded time and Regenda then rewarded them with a goal with four seconds left in the first period.

Right after the first break, the Slovaks could not capitalise a short four-on-three powerplay, but Libor Hudacek scored on a four-on-four. The Trinec forward also beat Ylonen midway through the game for his fifth goal of the tournament. France reduced the deficit in the second period when Sacha Treille surprised Samuel Hlavaj with a quick finish.

Quentin Papillon came on for Ylonen in the third period, but he too capitulated. He was able to deal with Regenda's opportunity, but in the 49th minute, Mario Grman's shot, which was crossed by one of his teammates, ended up behind him and in the net. Finally, defender Florian Chakiachvili had the last word, and with seven seconds left he eased France's pain to 4-2.

Czech Republic 4 Great Britain 1

Hosts Czech Republic kept up their good run of form with a 4-1 victory against lowly Great Britain in Prague to round off the day's play.

The Czechs made a fast start against the Brits, who had yet to gain a single point in the tournament, and were ahead in the third minute thanks to some good work from Lukas Sedlak.

That lead was doubled just two minutes later, this time Sparta Prague's Jakub Krejcik getting in on the act, with Roman Cervenka picking up his second assist in as many minutes.

A powerplay for both sides came to nothing as the first period came to an end before the hosts went 3-0 - a second goal for Sedlak - to take firm control of the contest.

Great Britain, though, did find some fight soon after as through Evan Mosey, they picked up their only goal of the game from close range to reduce the arrears to two.

But, it was one-way traffic for the majority of the game thereafter as fan-favourite Ondrej Kase rounded off the scoring midway through the second period.

With the victory, the Czech Republic moved back to the top of Group A and sealed their passage in front of a sold-out Prague Arena to the last eight.


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