Canada 4 - Czech Republic 6
RIGA, Latvia – Canada lost its first game of the World Hockey Championships on Sunday, 6-4 to the Czech Republic.
And the Canadians won't have long to regroup as they face Finland on Monday in a key game of the tournament's qualifying round.
Finland is in first place in Group E with 7 points and the Czechs are second with 6. Canada also has with six and is in third place because of Sunday's loss.
Canada could still finish stop the E Group standings by beating Finland and then having the United States beat the Czech Republic on Tuesday.
Either way, Canada is headed to the playoff round, which starts Wednesday, The Canadians turned in their worst first period of the tournament against the Czechs and it cost. The Canadians trailed 3-0 by the time Stephane Robidas scored on a slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that beat goalie Milan Hnilicks's glove at 15:44.
Canada rallied to tie the game in the second. Kyle Calder shoved a puck under Hnilicka at 1:56 and Dan Hamhuis scored on a slap shot 10 minutes later to knot the score at 3s. The Czech went ahead again before the period but Sidney Crosby tied it for a second time at 1:01 of the third period.
The Czechs took the lead for a third time on a goal by shot Jaroslav Balastik that goalie Alex Auld misplayed.
With 6:21 left, Martin Erat iced the win, scoring on a 2-1 with a one-timer through Auld's five-hole.
Petr Hubacek, David Vyborny, Tomas Plekanec and Zbynek Irgl also had goals for the Czech Republic.
Canada has lost nine of its past 11 meetings with the Czech Republic at the world championship, including last year's gold-medal game.
Preview: Canada is on a roll. The Canadians have won four straight games and have outscored their opponents 20-2. The rule of thumb for the Canadian teams in international competitions is they get better as the tournament goes on and the Canadians are keeping true to form. The top four teams from the E and F Groups advance to the quarter-finals and Canada has already clinched a berth, so that sense of urgency has been removed. But the Czechs present the toughest opponent to date and the Canadians will have to play a sound game to advance. The Czechs are a mix of players from NHL teams and clubs throughout Europe. They are not as strong as the Czech team that won the world title a year ago.
by Alan Adams
For more information:
Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations