Swedes Eliminated After 3-1 Loss to Czechs
Today in Halifax the match-up of Team Canada versus team Finland is the headliner, but on the undercard was a very important game that featured the Czech Republic against Team Sweden, with the fate of both teams in the balance. Much to the dismay of Tre Kronor fans, the Czechs battled to a 3-1 victory.
“It was a very tough game. Sweden came out hard and scored first,” said Czech defenseman Lukas Krajicek. “We expected they would come out hard and after their first goal we really came together, and were eventually able to come back.”
Czech forward Petr Taticek said that the pressure leading into the match-up was intense. “It was a very difficult game mentally for us, as I’m sure it was for Sweden, too. It was much more than just a game as the loser would not be playing for the medals, and a medal is obviously every team’s goal. We had a plan and we stuck to that plan. In the end, I guess it worked.”
Swedish captain Alexander Steen was understandably upset as he faced the media after the game, his team now forced to play in the losers’ bracket. “We played hard today, but in the end we only scored one goal, and we knew that we would have to do better than that. When the second Czech goal went in everyone on the bench felt a feeling of disappointment, both in ourselves and in the team, because we knew that we had a good team and yet we would not be playing for a medal.”
Entering the game, Team Sweden needed a victory to move on to the medal round, while the Czechs needed either a win or a tie. Many people believed that the Czech Republic, being a team often fond of a trap system, would play a very defensive game and look for the tie as opposed to the win. While the first period ended in a 0-0 scoreline, the period feature entertaining, wide open play from both sides, not indicative of a team playing for a tie. Krajicek later said that it was never in the game plan to pursue a tie. “From the start we wanted to go for the win and get our two points. We knew that there was a slight chance we could catch Finland for second in the pool, so we decided to not just sit back and see what happens.”
The second period was marred by penalties that slowed the pace. The frame also saw the first goals scored, beginning with the aforementioned opening goal by the Swedes that changed the complexion of the young game. After battling in the corner, big Swedish forward Yared Hagos moved unopposed to the mouth of the goal where he received a pass from teammate Andreas Jamtin. Hagos executed a spinning backhand to perfection, fooling Czech netminder Martin Falter as the puck slid between the goalie’s legs and into the net. Before the end of the period, though, the Czechs tied the game on a 2-on-1 converted by Tomas Fleischman.
The third period saw even more great action, as the teams combined for 20 shots. The first half of the period, however, saw Sweden play too conservatively given their situation, forcing them into a bad situation with minutes to go. Finding themselves in need of a goal late, Sweden opened up their offensive play, disregarding the back. The Czechs soon capitalized, as Krajicek scored on his second breakaway in a shift, lifting his team to a 2-1 lead, and seemingly eliminating the Swedes. A late empty netter ran the score to 3-1 in favor of the Czechs, allowing them to pack their bags for the medal round.
With the victory, the Czechs find themselves in a tie for second in pool B with Team Finland. Barring a Canadian victory over the Finns of five goals or more, the Czechs will meet former countrymen Slovakia in the quarter-finals, with the game taking place at the Halifax Metro Centre on Thursday at 4:00pm local time. For Sweden, the road now leads to the losers’ bracket, beginning with a showdown with Belarus on Friday at noon local time.
Czechs and Swedes Tied 0-0 After 1st
The Czechs need only a tie and the Swedes have to win to advance to the playoff round, and a scoreless first period took the Czechs 20 minutes closer to their goal. Martin Falter is in net for the Czechs again and Michal Zajkowski is in goal for the Swedes.
Czechs and Swedes Tied 1-1 After 2nd
Sweden and the Czech Republic exchanged goals in the second period, bringing the Czechs 20 minutes closer to advancing to the medal round. Yared Hagos has scored for Tre Kronor and Tomas Fleischman replied for the Czechs.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications