STOCKHOLM – Petr Koukal scored twice to buoy the Czechs to an 8-1 romp over Germany to finish their round-robin schedule on Tuesday. The Czechs will face Sweden in Thursday’s late Stockholm quarter-final, while Russia battles Norway in the early game.
David Krejci added a goal and two assists, while Ales Hemsky, Lukas Krajicek, and Jiri Novotny had a goal and an assist apiece for the Czechs. Martin Erat chipped in a single, and Petr Prucha had two helpers.
"We were speculating on who we would take on, Sweden or Russia, but I don't think it really mattered," said Krajicek. "Both teams beat us. Going up against Sweden is going to be hard, and we will do what we can to win the game."
Thomas Greilinger had the lone goal for Germany, which was outshot 39-18.
With four power play goals and a shorthanded marker, it was a great night on special teams for the Czech Republic.
"It is good to score a power play goal in at least every game, especially if you get the chance," said Hemsky. "If we take advantage of the power play like we did today, we'll be fine, but if we don't we'll have to play close hockey 5-on-5."
The Germans wrap up their 2012 effort with just two wins over Italy (3-0) and Denmark (2-1). It’s a far cry from 2010, when they finished fourth on home ice, or even last year, when they came seventh in Slovakia.
The Czechs, meanwhile, are hoping for their third straight medal as the elimination round starts. They won gold in 2010 and bronze in 2011.
Hemsky opened the scoring at 1:02, busting into the Czech zone around defenceman Florian Ondruschka and tucking a backhand past Endras.
Near the six-minute mark, Kotschnew stretched out to make a fantastic left pad save as Hemsky fed Koukal on a 2-on-1 rush.
Working with the man advantage, the Germans made it 1-1 on a lucky bounce at 7:36. Greilinger took a pass from Christoph Schubert and hammered a shot off Stepanek’s left post, and the rebound went in off Czech forward Milan Michalek.
At 10:34, the Czechs took a 2-1 lead when Michal Vondrka laid a beautiful cross-crease pass on the stick of a pinching Krajicek, who made no mistake.
The Czechs pressured Germany with some nice power play puck movement. Erat scored at 16:05 when he put the puck into the slot and German defenceman Nikolai Goc deflected it into his own net.
At 5:01 of the second, the Czechs extended their lead to 4-1 with the man advantage, as Koukal, standing in the slot, coolly tipped in Krajicek’s drive from the line.
"We had troubles with our penalty kill the whole tournament," said Endras. "It hurts to give up so many PK goals to such a skilled team."
Just before the halfway mark, it was 5-1 when Petr Tenkrat sprang Krejci on a shorthanded breakaway. Krejci showed the form that made him the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs scoring leader with Boston, waltzing in on goal, avoiding Endras’s pokecheck, and lifting a backhander past the sprawling netminder.
On the 6-1 goal at 14:22, Jakub Petruzalek swooped into the corner to Endras’s right and put a sweet centering pass on the stick of Novotny, who converted from close range.
In the third period, Koukal got his second of the game, an easy tap-in at the side of the net set up by Hemsky on the power play at 4:34.
Blatak made it 8-1 on a drive from the centre point that beat Endras cleanly at 6:42.
"We'd be lying to say that we weren't frustrated by the third period," said Germany's Evan Kaufmann. "We wanted to play the last 20 minutes and leave the tournament on a good note. But we took a lot of penalties, and you're not going to produce anything while sitting in the penalty box."
Krejci had a chance for the Czechs' ninth goal, as he got a penalty shot after Christoph Schubert threw his stick. However, Krejci was far too leisurely on his approach, and Endras outwaited him, leaving the Czech forward to flip the puck haplessly from the goal line.
With just under 10 minutes left, Stepanek came out so that 20-year-old phenom Petr Mrazek could see his first action ever at the IIHF World Championship. Mrazek was named Best Goalie and a tournament all-star in January at the World Juniors in Alberta, Canada, where the Czech U20 team came fifth.
Germany's best players of the tournament were honoured after the game: Patrick Reimer, Dennis Endras, and Philip Gogulla.