Czechs win 3-2 vs. Slovaks
Jagr ties game late in third
The winning goal was scored two minutes into overtime, when Jakub Klepis skated into the Slovak zone and took a slap shot through a screen that found it’s way past Jan Laco into the Slovak net.
But this could have been an entirely different story. The Czechs tied the game with only two minutes remaining in regulation when veteran superstar Jaromir Jagr drove hard to the net and pushed a pass from Ondrej Nemec past Laco. The goal came in a third period where Slovakia had quite successfully closed down the Czech attack.
"The whole team worked so well," said Nemec."We made a couple of mistakes in our defensive play, but all the players worked so hard. We wanted to win this game because it was the first game of the tournament. Every time when you win the first game, it’s a great step."
Slovakia's goals were scored by Michel Miklik and Marek Viedensky. The other Czech goal came from Nemec. The Czechs outshot the Slovaks 33-16 in the contest.
After a series of penalties early on, Slovakia managed to kill a 80-second two-man disadvantage but could not withstand the pressure on the ensuing 5-on-4 as Ondrej Nemec found the back of the net with a one-timed slap shot from the blue line after a nice passing play from Roman Cervenka and Jiri Hudler.
"Two days we practised the power play," explained Nemec. "Our coach has been yelling at us that we’re trying to find Jagr all the time, that we didn’t shoot. Today me and Petr Zamorsky shot everything. Maybe it touched Tomas Hertl a little bit. But it doesn’t matter who scored the goal. We play together like one team. We want to represent the Czech Republic."Continue reading
Five minutes into the second and shortly after Czech forward Jakub Petruzalek got out the box after a holding penalty, the Slovaks evened the score. Michel Miklik picked up a failed clearing attempt from the Czechs and took a shot from the blue-line that deflected off defenceman Martin Sevc and into Alexander Salak’s right corner.
"We started poorly, but then we started to play simple and it was better," said Slovakia's Martin Marincin. "We were in the offensive zone and scored a couple of goals. That was good."
With the game taking a gasp for air late in the second, the Slovaks hit the switch to light it up once again. After forcing a turnover in the neutral zone, Marek Viedensky scored from the right face-off circle after a nice pass right through the slot from Michel Miklik. The goal was 23-year-old Viedensky’s first ever goal at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and he celebrated accordingly, throwing his body to the glass.
"We said before that we should play from behind and wait for the counter-attack, but instead it was the Slovaks who did," said Czech head coach Vladimir Ruzicka. "Their second goal was a great goal."
Slovakia had a great chance to create a two-goal margin with eight minutes remaining, but Salak made a sprawling save to keep the puck out of the net on the Martin Reway deke in close. Instead, it was Jagr who scored six minutes later to tie the game.
In the second period, Roman Polak was hurt after hard hit from Ladislav Nagy. Polak was slow to get up and did not return to the game.
The Slovak and Czech fans in the Chizhovka Arena created a fantastic atmosphere throughout the game, chanting and banging drums to support their teams.
"I felt like I was at home. There were lots of Slovak people here," said Marincin. "That’s great for us. I want to make these people happy."