ZURICH-KLOTEN – The Czech Republic began its quest for its first medal in three years by beating Denmark 5-0 tonight in Kloten. Jaromir Jagr and Petr Cajanek led the way with a goal and two assists each, and the team clicked for four goals on the power play. Jakub Stepanek made 21 saves for the shutout.
The win puts the Czechs and Finns in first place of Group D with three points each, while Denmark and Norway have no points.
"We played well five-on-five," Danish forward Mikkel Boedker said, "but when they have those skilled players like Hemsky and Jagr, they can set up the power play really well."
"This was a big win for us," Cajanek said. "It's always important to get off to a good start in this tournament and our power play very good as well as our penalty killing."
Jaroslav Hlinka opened the scoring at 6:09 on a flukey play. He found some free room down the left wing and moved in on goal, but just as he was about to shoot he was checked by Danish defenceman Mads Christensen. Hlinka lost the puck, but it slid through the pads of goalie Patrick Galbraith anyway. The Czechs dominated the period and only several pad saves by Galbraith prevented them from running up the score, which stayed at 1-0 after 20 minutes.
The Czechs broke the game open with three power-play goals in the second.
The teams exchanged delay of game penalties resulting from clearings that soared over the glass, but after killing off theirs the Czechs made it a 2-0 game. Karel Rachunek‘s point shot was beautifully deflected in the slot by Tomas Rolinek, but Galbraith reacted quickly and made a pad save. The rebound went right to Jan Marek who popped it into the open net at 11:07.
Another power-play goal a short time later upped the count to 3-0 as Petr Cajanek poked home a loose puck in the slot. "The puck was just lying there, and I got lucky," Cajanek said of his marker. The third power-play score came off a two-on-one rush, Jaromir Jagr lobbing a pass knee high across the crease where Ales Hemsky batted it past Galbraith.
Jagr scored his own power-play marker by swatting home a loose puck to the backside of Galbraith.
"The Czech Republic is always a very good team," Galbraith conceded, "and when they turned up the speed, we had a little bit of trouble. But all in all, we played pretty well."
The Czechs play next on Monday afternoon against Norway while Denmark plays Finland in the night match that day. "We have to play physical and play hard, and make it a fast game," Cajanek suggested.