Czech Republic 5 - Slovakia 3
KREJCI’S HAT TRICK LIFTS CZECHS OVER SLOVAKS
By Kevin Parnell | Box Score
David Krejci knew he was going to break out sooner or later in the 2006 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. That it happened against rival Slovakia is just an added bonus. Krejci scored three goals in the Czech Republic's 5-3 win over Slovakia in Kelowna Friday night.
As a result, the Slovaks face a must-win game on Saturday versus Sweden to determine who will get the last elimination round berth. Meanwhile, the Czechs will have a tough game against the Russians, who have won three straight.
Krejci scored twice in the first period and once more in the second to pace his team.
“It was a very important game for us,” said Krejci. “We played hard. We had to win. It doesn’t matter if you score three goals or nothing. It was a very important game.”
Tomas Kudelka and Petr Pohl had the other Czech goals.
Ladislav Scurko, with his first goal in international play, scored for Slovakia, along with Juraj Gracik and Marek Zagrapan.
Krejci’s second goal of the game made the score 3-1 at 10:22 of the first and spelled the end of the night
for Slovak starting goalie Michal Valent. Krejci’s bad angle shot slid between Valent’s pad and the post. He
was replaced by Vladimir Kovac, who was solid in his second relief appearance in a row, allowing just two
There was also a surprise starter for the Czechs as Radek Fiala got the start ahead of Marek Schwarz after not allowing a goal in relief of Schwarz in the 3-2 loss to Sweden. Fiala made 34 saves for the win Friday.
The game began quickly as Krejci pushed home a rebound just 26 seconds in for a 1-0 Czech lead. Just 1:12
later, however, the Slovaks replied with a quick goal of their own as Zagrapan flipped a rebound into the net
for his second goal of the tournament at 1:38 of the first.
The refereeing, which has been a hot button topic through the first week of the tournament, was more
forgiving here, as Jyri Petteri Ronn didn’t call the game as closely as other officials have so far. The
Slovaks ended the night 3-for-8 on the power play while the Czech Republic went 1-for-5.
PREVIEW: CZECH REP. - SLOVAKIA
By Kevin Parnell
Czech Republic: With a Saturday showdown against the Russians looming, the Czechs need a win Friday as they try to secure a spot in the Final Round. The Czechs enter tonight’s game with one win and one loss, including a 5-1 victory over Latvia and a 3-2 defeat versus Sweden. Look for goaltender Marek Schwarz to be back between the pipes for the Czech Republic after the former Vancouver Giant was pulled in the loss to Sweden. Schwarz, the consensus number one man, was replaced by Radek Fiala, but is expected to get the call in what amounts to almost a must-win for the Czechs tonight. The Czechs need more offense from first-round NHL draft choice (Phoenix) Martin Hanzal, who has contributed two assists so far but is capable of doing more. Even more importantly, they need to stay out of the penalty box in what has turned into a special teams-laden tournament. A steady parade of penalties cost the Czechs in Wednesday’s loss to Sweden.
Slovakia: The Slovaks are also approaching tonight’s game against the Czech Republic as a must win as they will finish off the Round Robin Saturday against Sweden. Whoever wins this “battle of brothers” will vastly improve its chances of moving on. The Slovaks have been relying on Quebec Major Junior League standouts Stanislav Lascek and Marek Zagrapan, who have provided the team with most of its offense. But they will need to spread the scoring around and tighten up defensively if they hope to beat the Czechs. Boris Valabik has been a tower of power on the blueline, accumulating 16 penalty minutes and a point per game while achieving a +2 plus-minus rating. The Slovaks felt they gave Russia too much respect in the first period in a 6-2 loss Wednesday night. If they do the same here, this one will be over quickly as well.
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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications