STOCKHOLM – Tomas Plekanec assisted on all three first-period goals to lead the Czech Republic to a 7-0 win over Norway. The victory puts the Czechs in the playoffs and eliminates Norway from same.
Plekanec was playing his first game of the tournament after coming over from the recently-eliminated Montreal Canadiens. The win gives the Czechs fourth place and a date with unbeaten Switzerland on Thursday.
Ondrej Pavelec and Pavel Francouz shared the shutout, stopping 17 shots. For Francouz, who played the last 6:28, this was his first World Championship appearance.
"It was a game we knew we had to win," said Czech forward Martin Hanzal. "We did what we were supposed to do to get to the quarter-finals. We had a meeting before the game and watched video and executed exactly what we were told by the coach. It was a great game. Now the tournament begins."
Norway was simply no match for the inspired and intense Czechs, who came out flying and built an insurmountable lead by the midway point of the midway point of the opening period. Plekanec took a shot which was jammed home by Tomas Fleischmann for the first goal just 1:45 into the game.
Five and a half minutes later, the two combined again, Fleischmann scoring on a backhand wraparound that goalie Lars Haugen played poorly.
The third goal was a thriller. Taking a faceoff outside the Norway blue line, Plekanec poked the draw through his opponent’s feet, chased it down, and passed to a wide open Jiri Tlusty who snapped a third goal past Haugen.
Coach Roy Johansen pulled Haugen in favour of Lars Volden half a minute later.
The Czechs played flawless hockey in the second and added two goals to their ledger, both the result of terrible plays by Volden. On the first, he stopped a long shot from Jakub Voracek but misplayed the puck badly, giving Hanzal an empty net. After scoring, he pocketed the puck.
"It was my first goal at the World Championships, so it was important for me to remember this goal and this game," Hanzal said.
The fifth goal came with less than one second left on the clock. A long, fluttering shot by Zbynek Michalek bounced off Volden’s shoulder and the post, and in. Video review showed 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock.
Radim Vrbata and Zbynek Irgl added goals 21 seconds apart midway through the third to add salt to the wound.