THE MOMENT: Czech Republic @ Russia – Wednesday, April 3
by Kaarina Stiff
NEPEAN, Ont. – If Team Czech Republic is an underdog in this tournament, someone forgot to tell them.
Wednesday’s contest between the Czech Republic and Russia was a well-matched affair, and the Czech squad was anxious to prove its worth. The Czechs kept pace with the fast-moving, stick handling Russians, and did a brilliant job on the penalty kill, successfully defending all six infractions.
The key “moment” for the Czech Republic, though, came at 6:51 of the second period, when forward Denisa Krisova, assisted by Alena Polenska and Katerina Mrazova, swiftly moved the puck into the Russian zone and snuck it in behind Russian goaltender Anna Prugova, to put the Czech Republic on the scoreboard.
Czech fans rose to their feet, waved Czech flags and yelled louder on the decibel scale than fans did for either of the earlier Russian goals. Among the Czech supporters were close to 700 students from six Ottawa-area schools, who attended today’s game as part of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Womens’ World Championship host committee’s schools program, and no doubt gave a power boost to both teams.
But Krisova’s goal lit a fire under the Czech Republic, and changed the momentum of the game, making it an unforgettable Game 5 “moment.”