In a sold out (10,194) CEZ Arena in Pardubice Czech Republic beat brothers Slovakia 5-2 to secure a place in the Play-Off Round.
|Slovakia - Czech Republic 2:5 (0:2, 1:2, 1:1)|
|Goals and Assists: 8. Sklenář (Kuběna), 20. Frolík (Voráček), 25. Bártek (Voráček, Bořuta), 27. Sklenář (Ondráček), 55. Látal (Bártek) - 39. Ďuriš (Slovák, Jančovič), 53. Čaládi (Slovák). Referees: Piechaczek (Germany), Rönn - Kekäläinen (both Fin.), Feola (USA). Penalties: 9:7. Power-play goals: 1:1. Shorthanded goals 1:0. Attendance: 10 194 (sold-out).|
|Slovakia: Hudáček - Ďaloga, Biro, Beňa, Bališ, Mikuš, Kozák, Krajčík, Zúkal - Roháč, Marcinko, Lušňák - Slovák, Skokan, Čaládi - Jančovič, Češík, Šinkovič - Suja, Ďuriš, Jurík.|
|Czech Republic: Neuvirth - Jordán, Bořuta, Parýzek, Piskáček, Kundrátek, Prokop - Voráček, Frolík, Bártek - Sklenář, Kuběna, Ondráček - Látal, Strapáč, Hampl - Meidl, Semorád, Szturc.|
Czech Republic had the upper hand from the beginning but when Erik Caladi scored 4-2 for Slovakia in the middle of the third period it felt like they could have a chance of catching up with the Czechs. Martin Latal closed all Slovak hope at 54:27 when he combined with Bartek for the important 5-2 goal while playing short-handed.
The Czech star players Voracek and Frolik started the game with lots of energy. They were both very close to score in the first shift. The first goal of the game would be scored by Jakub Sklenar. At 07:11 Kubena centres a pass to Sklenar who hammers it home with a one-timer.
Czech Republic dominated the game for the first minutes but then it evened out a little. At 12:04 Erik Caladi was brought down and Slovakia were awarded a penalty shot. Tomas Marcinko took it but missed the target.
With just one second remaining of period one Czech Republic got the important 2-0 goal when Michael Frolik gets the puck from Voracek in a quick counter attack.
“The goal they scored in the last second of the first period was the breaking point of the game”, said a disappointed Slovak Head Coach Stefan Mikes.
In the second period Daniel Bartek increased the Czech lead to 3-0 nicely setup by Voracek and Boruta. Shortly after the third goal, Hudacek saves a break-away by Ondracek but Jakub Sklenar scores his second goal of the day on the rebound.
The game lost a little in tempo. Czech Republic dominated the second period. Even when Slovakia was on the power-play the Czechs often had the better scoring chances. The last five minutes Slovakia started to play better and got their goal at 38:17. Oliver Duris took a well placed wrist shot on a 2-on-1 break-away to beat Czech netminder Neuvirth.
In the middle of the third period Erik Caladi scored a beautiful power-play goal for Slovakia assisted by Slovak when playing 5-on-3. The Czechs replied two minutes later when Martin Latal and Bartek combined for an important short-handed goal.
“You always have to concentrate on the game. Especially when they get closer in the third period you have to be more careful”, said Martin Latal
With help from drums, trumpets and singing fans the Czech players had no problem to hold the lead till the end.
The loss means that Slovakia will have to play the Relegation Round. “It was a special game because it was about the qualification to the play-offs”, said Slovak forward Marek Slovak. “I don’t know why. Maybe we didn’t shoot enough.
Czech Republic are looking forward to the Play-Off Round.
Miloslav Horava (CZE):
It was a key game for us. We knew that the Slovak team was very strong. They played both the previous games very well. Today I am, for the first time satisfied with my team. I have to say that we played on a high level and I am very glad we managed to win the game.
Stefan Mikes (SVK):
It was a key game for us as well. We knew that the Czechs would play from the beginning of the game but unfortunately we got an early goal against us and the goal they scored in the last second of the first period was the breaking point of the game. Later we had some scoring chances but we were slower than our opponents and we didn’t play as well individually.