|Tomáš Klíma was the hero for Karlovy Vary in their Junior|
Extraliga semifinal versus Sparta. Photo: Jan Beneš,
On Thursday, Orli Znojmo had its first chance to join Karlovy Vary in the finals, but met a Slavia Praha team firing on all cylinders. Michal Hellar scored twice as Slavia built up a 5-0 lead midway through the game before Znojmo battled back with a pair of scores to make it a 5-2 final. Znojmo was very upset with the work of referee Štěpán Souček, who awarded Slavia with 8 power-plays compared to 3 for Znojmo, and felt there were several infractions not called against Slavia. In the final minute of play, coach Martin Stloukal was ejected from the game.
In Friday's rubber match, Slavia built up a 2-1 lead halfway through the first period, but after that Znojmo played a very sound defensive game, surrendering very few quality scoring chances, even while penalty killing. Adam Havlík and Richard Jarůšek scored in the second period, and they held on the rest of the way.
Both games at Eden were well-attended by a large contingent of Znojmo supporters, who even outnumbered the Slavia fans on Friday, likely due to the early start time and the fact that most Slavia fans were more concerned with the Extraliga playoff game in the evening.
The Junior Extraliga finals start on Sunday in Karlovy Vary at 17:30. The series then shifts to Znojmo for games Tuesday and, if necessary, Wednesday.