Czechs in the medal dance

U18: Beat Russians in OT, Sweden smokes Finns


The Czechs are headed for the medal round and their best result in eight years. Photo: Jana Chytilova / HHOF-IIHF Images

IMATRA – The Czechs and Russians played out a thrilling quarter-final game at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, ending with a goal from Jakub Vrana in overtime to put  the Czechs in the medal round for the first time since 2006.

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Vrana scored the game winner five minutes into the extra frame. Russia had a golden chance to win early in overtime when Yevgeniv Svechnikov was given a penalty shot, but with the game on his stick the Russian forward was unable to convert and his shot sailed just inches wide of the net.

Minutes later Vrana, who has been a puck magnet so far at the 2014 U18s with five goals in four games in the preliminary round, found himself in perfect position to bury the rebound after a shot by Filip Pyrochta, sending his team to the semi-finals.

Czech goalie Vitek Vanecek earned the Best Player nod for the Czechs with a 25-save effort. Vrana opened the scoring with a goal late in the first period. Russian replied in the second on the power play, the score coming from forward Yegor Korshkov.

The two teams traded goals in the third period, an early Czech score by Dominik Kase was answered eight minutes later by Kirill Pilipenko.

The Czechs will now play in the semi-final round for the first time since 2006 where they ended up beating Canada 4-1 to win the bronze medal.

Sweden – Finland 10-0 (3-0, 2-0, 5-0)

LAPPEENRANTA – Finland’s U18 campaign crashed out in the quarter-final game as Sweden pumped their Nordic rivals for ten goals to advance to the semi-finals.

William Lagesson, Axel Holmstrom, and William Nylander each had two goals for the Swedes, who are firing on all cylinders now having registered an astounding 25 goals in its last three games.

An defensive breakdown by the host Finns gave Sweden the early lead, and was allowed to take the puck from the boards right into the slot area and roof it home for the game’s first goal.

A penalty to Finland’s Antti Kauppinen for interference gave Sweden the 2-0 lead, coming on a shot from Kim Rosdahl set up by Henrik Tornqvist and Jakub Forsbacka Karlsson.

Finnish goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen then gave up a soft goal to William Lagesson, who shot the puck from the far corner of the Finnish zone near the blue line beside the boards. Despite little traffic in front Kahkonen couldn’t corral the puck and the Swedes pushed the lead to 3-0.

The Finns continued to struggle to rein in the Swedish forwards in the second period, as William Ladesson added to the lead early in the second with a shot from the left circle. Kahkonen was then chased from the net as yet another Swedish player, Marcus Pettersson, was allowed to walk into the high slot area and fire a goal without being challenged at all by the Finnish defence.

Things continued to go downhill for the Finns, who after a promising start will now end their home tournament without a medal.


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