RED DEER, Alta. – Jakub Stancl scored the tying goal for Finland with just
33 seconds left to send it into extra time, but two shootout goals from Eduard
Sale propelled Czechia to a 4-3 shootout win over Finland in the preliminary-round opener for both at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Czechia opened the scoring early with a shorthanded marker just 2:36 into
the game. Jan Šprynar forced a turnover in the offensive zone before
feeding a no-look pass to Jakub Štancl for the finish.
The Finns pressed for an equalizer but Czech goaltender, Michael Hrabal,
turned away all 10 shots faced in the first. The 6-foot-6 netminder finished the
game with 33 saves.
In the second, Adam Zidlicky snuck one past Finnish goaltender Petteri
Rimpinen after a two-on-one break to extend the Czech lead to two. Finland
fought back on a late period power play with Kasper Halttunen wiring home a
one-timer from the top of the face-off circle to make it 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Kalle Kangas floated a shot through traffic to the game for Finland at
the beginning of the third to set up a wild finish. Joona Saarelainen
scored what appeared to be the game-winner midway through the period but
Stancl counted late to force overtime.
After a scoreless overtime, the stalemate continued through the shootout,
with Salé finally scoring the deciding goal in the sixth round.
Czechia will be back on the ice Monday against Germany (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), while the Finns face the United States (5 p.m.
ET/2 p.m. PT).