CZECHS SCORE TWICE IN THREE SECONDS, BEAT SWISS FOR FIFTH PLACE
JASON LA ROSE
COBOURG, Ont. – Lukas Doudera and Pavel Kousal scored just three seconds apart midway through the first period – setting a new tournament record – to help lead the Czech Republic past Switzerland 5-3 on Friday night in the fifth-place game at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge.
It’s the second fifth-place finish in the last two appearances for the Czechs; they finished fifth in 2013 in Yarmouth, N.S., after sixth-place results in 2011 (Langley, B.C.) and 2012 (Yarmouth).
Outshot 21-5 in the first period, the Swiss took an early lead when Axel Simic took a pass in the slot and snapped a quick shot past Czech goaltender Dominik Groh at the seven-minute mark.
Doudera tied the game at 10:44, beating Swiss netminder Philip Wüthrich under the arm from the point, and Kousal took the puck off the ensuing face-off, cut to the net and beat Wüthrich to the far side at 10:47, giving the Czechs the lead for good, and making a little history.
The goals comfortably bested the old mark of nine seconds between goals, set by Martin Filo and Ondrej Rusnak in Slovakia’s 8-2 quarter-final win over Belarus on Nov. 9, 2006.
Tomas Smerha added a third goal in the opening frame, tipping in a Daniel Novak point shot at 18:21 to send the Czechs to the intermission with a two-goal advantage.
The Swiss turned the tables in the second period, outshooting the Czechs 10-4, but Petr Kodytek scored shorthanded just past the 13-minute mark to push the Czech lead to 4-1.
Lee Roberts got that one back for the Swiss in the final minute of the middle frame, capitalizing on a turnover behind the Czech net and beating Wüthrich through the five-hole to make it a 4-2 game after 40 minutes.
Switzerland made things interesting late in the third; a centering pass from Kaj Suter deflected off a Czech skate in front and got behind Wüthrich with 6:48 to go, making it a one-goal game.
But Jiri Karafiat hit the empty net at 18:10, clinching the win for the Czechs.
After reaching the semifinals in their first three appearances, the Swiss have played in the fifth-place game in consecutive years, and the sixth-place finish is their worst ever at the tournament.