LAPPEENRANTA/IMATRA – Following Switzerland’s opening game upset of the USA yesterday at the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, there were no shockers on Good Friday as Slovakia defeated Germany 4-1 and the Czech Republic rolled over Denmark 9-2.
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Germany – Slovakia 1-4 (1-1, 0-1, 0-2)
Slovakia shut the Germans down after giving up an early goal in the first period to start its 2014 U18 campaign with a win.
Manuel Wiederer had the game’s lone goal for Germany, coming 34 seconds into the opening frame. Germany was able to hold onto the lead until just under three minutes left in the period, when Juraj Mily knotted up the score at 1-1 with an unassisted goal.
After Radovan Bondra put his team up by a goal in the second, the Slovaks pulled away in the third period courtesy of a score from Matej Palocko and an empty netter from Kristian Fertelak. Goaltender Matej Tomek stopped 23 shots and Slovak defenceman Erik Cernak was selected as the game’s Best Player for Slovakia.
Slovakia’s win over Germany gives it some breathing space going forward should the teams end up at the bottom of the Group A standings, however the Slovaks suprisingly sit atop the group with four points in two games, after nearly upsetting Russia in a 3-2 OT loss. They will have a day off before playing Canada on Easter Sunday.
Germany meanwhile won’t have much time to rest, playing the Canadians on Saturday afternoon in Imatra.
Czech Republic – Denmark 9-2 (4-0, 3-0, 2-2)
The Czechs made short work of U18 top division newcomers Denmark in their opening game of the tournament, potting nine goals en route to a 9-2 victory.
Vaclav Karabacek had two goals and four points to earn his team’s Best Player award, and Jakub Vrana scored the game’s first goal and finished with two scores and an assist. In total seven Czech players found the back of the net.
Denmark has had a rough go so far in its 2014 campaign, having given up 15 goals while potting just three. The team was without forward Kristian Jensen, who was serving his match penalty for a check to the head committed against a Finnish player in the team's opening game. Jensen will be out for the rest of the preliminary round after receiving an additional two-game suspension from the IIHF Disciplinary Panel.
The Czechs will draw a tougher opponent tomorrow when they face the 2014 silver-medallists United States, who are surprisingly without a win so far after dropping their opening game 4-2 against Switzerland. Denmark will play the U.S. on Sunday.