Saturday, November 20, 2010

Slaney, Straka return and contribute to Plzeň win

Just hours after the announcement by APK Director Stanislav Šulc that three teams in the Tipsport Extraliga would be stripped of points for using improperly registered players, two of those teams faced off against each other at ČEZ Arena in Plzeň.

HC Plzeň 1929 took to the ice against HC Vagnerplast Kladno in a match-up between two teams that face an uphill climb to make the playoffs in light of recent events. Of the two teams, Plzeň would have to be considered much more likely to make it, and their road back would be aided by the return of two of their best players.

After missing 11 games with a broken jaw, John Slaney of St. John's, NL made his return to the lineup and scored in the game's third minute on a shot from the slot to give the home side the early lead. Before getting hurt, Slaney had 6 points in 10 games, and was the team's leading scorer among defencemen.

Slaney wasn't the only player returning to the Plzeň lineup, as team captain and General Manager Martin Straka got back into the action only a week after undergoing knee surgery. He played on a line with the North American duo of John Lammers and Nick Johnson and, with the game tied at 2 late in the second period, the trio delivered the game-winning goal thanks to hard work in front of the net that has become the trademark of the Lammers-Johnson combo.

Despite the fact that Plzeň 1929 earned their 12th win of the season, a total that was not affected by the recent ruling, they now have only 16 points and sit in 12th place; 9 behind Sparta Praha and 13 behind Slavia Praha for the 10th and final playoff spot.

Other results from Friday:

PSG Zlín 5-3 HC Mountfield České Budějovice
HC Benzina Litvínov 2-1 HC Sparta Praha
HC Energie Karlovy Vary 3-2 HC Ocelří Třínec (SO)
HC Kometa Brno 3-2 HC Vítkovice Steel
HC Slavia Praha 5-4 HC Eaton Pardubice (SO)

And from Thursday:

Bílí Tigři Liberec 0-6 BK Mladá Boleslav

Note that, in European sports, the home team is typically listed first in results.

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