The Czechs defeated host Slovakia in the last preliminary game of the tournament 5-1 on Sunday. The win gives the Czechs seven points, one more than second-place Sweden. Both of those teams move on to the quarter-finals, with the Czechs taking on Finland and Sweden facing off against Russia.
Switzerland and Slovakia finished third and fourth in Group B and will now play a three-game series to see which team is relegated down a division for next year’s U18 tournaments.
On Sunday, it looked like the Slovaks were going to tie the game 1-1 when they had a long 5-on-3 power play. Chance after chance was denied by the Czechs. Then, with Tereza Mazancova’s penalty coming to an end, the Czechs fired the puck down the ice, Mazancova raced out of the box to retrieve it, and stuffed it in past Slovak netminder Laura Medvidova.
The goal, which ended up being the game winner, gave the Czechs a 2-0 lead and shifted momentum that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The back-breaker came with under a minute to play in the second on one of the nicest goals of the tournament. Czech Hana Haasova crossed the Slovak blue line, dropped the puck to Kaltounkova and headed straight to the net. After a quick move past a defender, Kaltounkova took a slap shot at the net and Haasova reached her stick out and tipped in the puck for a 3-0 Czech lead.
Daniela Pejsova and Gabriela Hrubanova scored for the Czechs in the third, with Romana Haluskova getting the lone Slovak goal.
Kristyna Kaltounkova scored in the first period to open the scoring for the Czechs.