Czechs to quarters after clutch win
by Andrew Podnieks|31 DEC 2018
The Czech Republic's Jakub Lauko (#15) celebrates with Krystof Hrabik (#26) and Jachym Kondelik (#29) after scoring a goal against Denmark.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
The Czech Republic scored two first-period goals to spark a 4-0 win against Denmark on the final day of preliminary-round play in Vancouver.

The result gives the Czechs one place in the quarter-finals on Wednesday against, most likely, either Finland or the United States.

The loss leaves Denmark winless--and goalless--in four games and puts them back in the Relegation Round as they were last year. They’ll fight for top-level participation next year in a best-of-three against Kazakhstan, winless in Group B.

"I'm surprised they haven't scored," said Czech forward Kakub Lauko. "They play with a big heart. It's hard to play against them. With all the respect to them, they know they don't have the same abilities of some of the other teams, but they play with heart. I wish them luck against Kazakhstan."

This marks the first time since the IIHF went to the current tournament format in 1996 that a team has failed to score a goal in the four-game Preliminary Round. Five teams have had one. But today, as with every other for Denmark, the team had no puck luck. It generated 20 shots, several of them very good chances, but goalie Lukas Dostal was sharp throughout to earn the shutout.

The Danes looked disorganized and just plain demoralized by their perplexing inability to score. They have tried. They have created some great chances. But they just haven’t been able to put the biscuit in the basket.

An indicator of their problems has been their power play. They were 0-7 today and are 0-19 for the tournament.

"All we can do is keep going," lamented captain Jonas Rondbjerg. "We had the chances again today. Eventually they'll go in. We have to score against Kazakhstan to stay up. We played pretty well today. We created chances."

"Before this game, we had only four goals in three games, so we got as many today as the rest of the games," said Czech Martin Kaut of the Czechs' problems scoring as well. "We scored on the power play, which is important, and our goalie played really well."

"Our best game was against the Russian team and we played very well against the Swiss team in the first game," offered Czech coach Vaclav Varada. "Today it was really difficult for the players to focus. It was a game we had to win. It’s a lot of pressure put on the team. I tried to keep our guys out of that pressure. You could see in the third period on the power play that the Danish team made it difficult for us. It was up to our goalie and defence to hold on and get the needed win to move to the next round."
Denmark vs. Czech Republic - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship
The Czech Republic scored two first-period goals to spark a 4-0 win against Denmark.
DEN CZE 01 JAN 2019
The Czechs got on the board at 8:10, scoring thanks to some good hustle by Krystof Hrabik, who got to a loose puck in the corner. He found Lauko in front, and he made no mistake with the shot.

Less than four minutes later, it was 2-0. This one came on a power play, thanks to a great cross-ice pass by Filip Zadina to captain Martin Necas. His back side one-timer found the mark past an outstretched Mads Soegaard.

The fans did their best and more to get the Danes going. Every power play the chants of “Let’s go Denmark!” filled the air, but try as they might the skaters couldn’t convert.

The Czechs made it 3-0 on another power play midway through the second. This time it was another nice combination pass and shot, Jachym Kondelik making the pass and Kaut with the finish.

Filip Kral closed out the scoring at 17:46 of the third, scoring into the empty net short-handed.

NOTE: Czech Michael Gaspar suffered a scary injury just 41 seconds into the third period. He crashed hard into the post on a rush and immediately clutched his rib/hip area. He was taken off the ice on a stretcher and was sent to hospital for evaluation. "It looks like it’s the lower part of the ribs that are damaged," Varada revealed. "Michael is feeling better but they kept him for another examination to check the inner organs as well."
Denmark vs. Czech Republic (2019 IIHF WJC)