Thursday, February 10, 2011

Swedes thump Czechs in Stockholm

The Czech national men's team was hoping that a good start at the LG Games against the host team would give them a chance to climb up in the Euro Hockey Tour standings, but the opposite happened. Niklas Persson gave Sweden the early lead, but Petr Průcha tied it up three minutes later. However, the Swedes regained the lead late in the opening period and they never looked back, cruising to an easy 6-1 victory. Magnus Johansson and P.J. Axelsson each had 3 points for Sweden.

Coach Alois Hadamczik was thoroughly unimpressed with his team's performance and had a locked-door meeting with the team afterward. When asked what he told them, he responded, "What they already know well. With a defence and system organized this way, we cannot succeed."  He later added, "Against Finland (on Saturday), we have to show a completely different performance, otherwise we have no chance."
In the day's other game, Russia hosted Finland in Mitishi and won 5-3. The rest of the tournament will be played in Stockholm on Saturday and Sunday.

Adam Řehák. Photo:
In Mannheim, Germany, Sweden scored 4 times in the first period and led 6-1 early in the third before the Czech U19 team came roaring back only to fall short, 6-5. With the loss, the Czech team's record falls to 2-1. The Swedes were actually leading 5-0 in the dying minutes of the second period, when Adam Řehák finally got the Czechs on the board. The situation for the Czechs seemed hopeless, trailing by 5 as the midway point of the third period approached, but they then exploded for 4 goals in under six minutes. Daniel Přibyl, Řehák, Jiří Půhoný, and Petr Holík made it close, but they couldn't score another in the game's final five minutes. Řehák now has 3 goals in 3 games, leading the team. He has 50 points in 44 games for Vítkovice in the Junior Extraliga this season.

The U17 tournament in Moscow concluded on Thursday, with the Czech Republic falling 8-3 to Finland. Russia then beat Sweden 4-2 to win the tournament with 8 points. In second place with 5 points was Finland, followed by the Czechs with 3 and Sweden with 2. The next action for the Czech U17 team will be at the European Youth Winter Olympic Festival in Liberec; the hockey tournament begins Monday and concludes Saturday, February 18.

At the U18 Five Nations Cup in Hradec Králové and Nový Bydžov, the Czech Republic was idle, but the other four teams were in action. The United States beat Russia 10-4 in Hradec on the strength of a 5-goal second period. The US got 3 points each from Cole Bardeau, Reid Boucher, Rocco Grimaldi, and Ryan Haggerty. Grimaldi and Boucher now have 7 and 6 points, respectively, after 2 games. In its first game, Russia got a goal and an assist from Nikita Nesterov. In Nový Bydžov, Finland edged Sweden 3-2.

The rest of the tournament will be held at ČEZ Stadion in Hradec Králové. In Friday's early game, Russia takes on Sweden. The Czech U18 team returns to action Friday night against the USA. The game begins at 18:00 CET (UTC +1) and will be televised by ČT4 Sport. For American viewers, the game begins at noon ET, 9am PT, and can be seen online at

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