Sunday, December 12, 2010

Litvínov extends lead before break

On the last day of action before the Extraliga takes an eight-day break for the Channel One Cup in Moscow, there was a big game at ČEZ Arena in Plzeň between 10th-place Benzina Litvínov and 11th-place Plzeň 1929.

Heading into the game, Jiří Šlegr's Litvínov club held a 10-point advantage for the 10th and final playoff spot, which Plzeň could have reduced to seven with a regulation victory, which is worth three points. The home side was six minutes away from getting the result they wanted, but couldn't hold on and ended up losing in a shootout, which allows Litvínov to increase its lead to 11.

Litvínov was leading late in the second period, when Radek Duda tied the score. Windsor CT's Nick Johnson was screening in front and it appears that he may have tipped the shot, though no official change has been made. On a third-period power play, Martin Straka scored on a rebound to give Plzeň a 3-2 lead, and it appeared the night might turn out their way, but the league's worst defensive team couldn't hold on, and the game ended up going to overtime and then a shootout.

Petr Franěk entered the Litvínov goal and stopped Plzeň's Tomáš
Vlasák to end the game. Photo: Milan Podpera,
Martin Jenáček scored the go-ahead goal in the third round of the shootout, and then Petr Franěk replaced Jaroslav Hübl in the Litvínov goal to face the last shooter. Franěk stopped the only shot he faced, against league-leading scorer Tomáš Vlasák, to preserve the victory for visiting Litvínov.

There are actually now two teams between ninth-place Litvínov and 12th-place Plzeň. With the two points, Litvínov overtook Slavia Praha, who were routed 7-1 in Vítkovice. 

As well,  Sparta Praha went into Třinec and pulled off a huge upset, winning 5-1 against the first-place club. Radek Smoleňak scored twice for Sparta, while Tomáš Kůrka tallied a goal and an assist. 

Ocelaři Třinec and Vítkovice are now tied for first with 58 points each, both teams having played 31 games. Four points back of the leaders, Bílí Tigři Liberec and Kometa Brno are tied for third with 54 points. Liberec went into Pardubice and won 3-2 in overtime, with Martin Čakajík scoring only two seconds before time expired. Meanwhile, Brno lost 4-2 on home ice to Energie Karlovy Vary. 

Other scores:

Vagnerplast Kladno 4-0 Mountfield České Budějovice
BK Mladá Boleslav 0-2 PSG Zlín

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