BRATISLAVA – The Czech Republic had a pleasant day at the office, working on some details, preparing for their quarter-final against the U.S. In the process, they beat Germany 5-2.
Germany - Czech Republic 2-5 (1-2, 0-3, 1-0) Game Sheet Photos
The Germans will play against Sweden in the quarter-finals after finishing their group in third place.
Tomas Plekanec scored twice for the Czechs, Jaromir Jagr collected three assists. Jakub Stepanek made 37 saves in the Czech goal.
"Offensively, we like the way we’re playing right now. We want to straighten out some of the little mistakes we made in the third period, and be ready for the quarter-finals," said Plekanec.
The Czech Republic is going for the perfect record of 9-0 now. It hasn't lost a point in the tournament, and from now on, nobody's counting points anymore. Just wins.
"It’s a different hockey over here. It’s not the same as the NHL. But we know [the U.S.] will be ready for us. They will look at the tapes and everything. They’re very good at it. We’ll need to be sharp and ready for the game," Plekanec added.
Had Germany won their last game in the Qualification Round, they would have finished second in the group, and would take on Norway in their quarter-final. The Czechs, who had already secured their top spot in the group, didn’t give Germany a chance tonight.
"I'm happy with the way my team played, we created a lot of chances, and against a team like this you have to take advantage of your chances or it'll be a long night. And for us, it became long night," said German coach Uwe Krupp.
The Czechs scored their first goal in the first shift of the game. Jaromir Jagr carried the puck into the German zone, and found Tomas Plekanec, who spun around and sent the puck to the net. It hit Justin Krueger’s stick and was deflected into the net.
"You put the puck on net and sometimes it finds an interesting way to go off people and bounce in, and it's really tough for the goalie," said Krueger.
Just like in their game against Finland – in which they also got scored on in the first minute and the last player to touch the puck was German – they came back. In the next shift, Kevin Lavellée took a wrist shot from the top of the circle and John Tripp was there to get shoot the rebound past Jakub Stepanek, playing his first game of the tournament.
With 9:22 remaining, when Jiri Novotny found Michael Frolik waiting in the slot. Frolik’s wrist shot hit Korbinian Holzer in the thigh, and the puck bounced into the German net, to give the Czechs the lead again. And they never let go of it again.
The Czech Republic dominated the second period, and at times, their play looked like a relaxed practice in which they were working on some 3-on-2’s.
The scored their next two goals on power play, though, both masterminded by Jaromir Jagr who first sent a pass across the German zone from the halfboards and on to Karel Rachunek’s tape. Rachunek onetimed it in just 2:47 into the period.
"They had a great start, and a lucky goal, and they're difficult to play against when they have the lead. We had our chances but we didn't capitalize, and they got a 3-1 lead and after that, they were cruising," said Uwe Krupp.
Cruising towards their 4-1 goal on power play, Jagr found empty space inside the German box. Roman Cervenka got the puck to him, and Jagr took a slapper from the high slot. He misfired, but the puck went straight to Plekanec who had an easy job to deflect it in, for his second, and the Czechs’ fourth goal of the night.
And they weren’t even done with the night.
With 3:02 remaining in the second period, Petr Prucha and Martin Havlat opened the German defence like a can of tuna, and Prucha sent a pass that went across the crease to Patrik Elias, who was waiting at the far post. He had a easy job to scored his second of the tournament.
In the third period both teams saved some energy for their quarter-final games, but Germay scored their second when Thomas Greilinger beat Stepanek with a slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle, to seal the final score, 5-2.
Next up: quarter-finals on Wednesday for both teams. CZE - USA at 16:15, SWE-GER at 20:15.
"The only bad thing in tonight's game was that we lost two more players [Petr Prucha and Martin Havlat] to injuries," said Czech coach Alois Hadamczik.