Canada beats Czechs in OT
TORONTO (CP) - Vincent Lecavalier scored 3:45 into overtime to earn Canada a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Czech Republic in semifinal action Saturday night in the World Cup of Hockey.
Lecavalier scored on Canada's lone shot of overtime. The Tampa Bay Lightning star had a glorious chance when he had trouble corralling a rebound in front of Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun. But Lecavalier got a second chance and this time from a bad angle fired the puck into the open net past a prone Vokoun.
``I thought I lost (puck), but I took another shot at a wide angle,' Lecavalier told CBC afterwards. ``I couldn't really see it, but it went in.' Lecavalier was a late addition to the Canadian team, replacing the injured Steve Yzerman. Canada will meet Finland in the championship game Tuesday night (CBC, 7 p.m. EDT) at the Air Canada Centre. ``I think we'll come out hard for 60 minutes and hopefully get that win,' said Lecavalier.
The Canadian team can thank goaltender Roberto Loungo for the win. Replacing the injured
Martin Brodeur, Luongo was stellar in overtime, turning aside five Czech shots - including a great chance by
Milan Hejduk - before Lecavalier's winning goal.
Canada took a 2-1 lead into the third period on goals from Eric Brewer and Mario Lemieux
while Petr Cajanek replied for the Czechs to set up a wild third frame.
Martin Havlat tied the game at 7:21 on a power play, only to see Toronto native Kris Draper score at 13:47. But only six seconds later, Patrick Elias tied the game again and the teams traded chances the rest of the way. Elias had eight shots on goal during regulation time.
Luongo, pressed into service when Brodeur suffered a hand injury in Canada's 5-0 win over Slovakia in the quarter-finals, was under pressure as the Czechs outshot Canada 40-24.
Brodeur had allowed only three goals in Canada's first four games.
Canada got a boost from the sellout crowd of 19,273, the loudest yet at the often quiet Air Canada Centre that fed off an enthusiastic rendition of O Canada by Paulina Gretzky, team executive director Wayne Gretzky's teenage daughter.
They saw a match in which Lemieux and Jagr, the star tandem of the 1990s Pittsburgh
Penguins, seemingly competed to be the best player on the ice.
The Czechs were on top of Canada again to start the second but momentum turned as Jarome
Iginla just missed sending Lemieux in on the breakaway at 9:45.
Lemieux jumped on a loose puck in a scramble in front Vokoun and fired it into an open side on the power play at 14:25. That drew a standing ovation and chants of ``Mario, Mario,' for his first goal of the tournament.
But only 42 second later, Cajanek slid a shot between Luongo's pads from the right circle to put the Czechs back into the game. Each team scored on its only power play chance of the game and the Czechs used theirs to tie it in the third when Havlat fired the rebound of Tomas Kaberle's point shot past Luongo.
Luongo then held his team in the game with three straight saves after losing his stick
midway through the period. Thornton shot the puck around the boards from deep in his own end. It sent Draper
in on the left side for a blast that beat Vokoun at 13:47.
A moment of silence was held before the game to honour victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.
TEAM CANADA FACE THE CZECHS IN SEMI-FINAL SHOWDOWN
TORONTO, ON – Team Canada defeated the Slovaks 5-0 in the quarter final to advance to the semi-final versus the Czech Republic on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
The line of Mario Lemieux, Jarome Iginla, and Joe Sakic providing high-lite material factoring in on three of Canada’s five goals. Martin Brodeur had his first ever international shut-out with a 26 save performance. Canada had played an even first period with the Slovaks before bursting out with four second period goals, and never looked back.
The Czech Republic advanced to the semi-final with a decisive 6-1 win over the Swedes earlier in the week. This will be a re-match of the infamous 1998 Olympic shut-out that saw the Czechs advance and eventually win the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Nagano. There are two players currently on Team Canada that where with the 1998 team. Joe Sakic and Adam Foote where both their, but Joe was out with an injury.
“I have tried to put that game out of my mind,” stated veteran defensemen, Adam Foote. “We obviously would have liked a different outcome, but that’s hockey.” Canada is set to face a team that went 1-2 during the round robin portion of the tournament, but turned the corner in their last game versus the Swedes.
In the other semi-final, Team USA will host Finland in St.Paul, Minnesota on Friday. The winner of the two semi-finals will do battle in Toronto on Tuesday, September 14th at the Air Canada Centre
For more information:
Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations