Sunday, August 28, 2011

4 Czech teams still in contention for European Trophy

All teams were in action on Saturday in the European Trophy, as positioning starts to become clearer. Most teams have now played six of their eight games, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the Red Bull Salute in December.

Prague's two teams did little to help their causes, each losing on home ice to cement their positions at the bottom of the North Division. At Tesla Arena, Sparta was scored on four times in the second period and fell 4-2 to visiting Jokerit Helsinki. The Finnish club was particularly dominant during a 10-minute stretch in the second where Sparta failed to register a shot on goal, and had numerous chances of their own to build up a commanding lead. Sparta came back strong in the third and scored twice, but it was too little, too late. Meanwhile, across town in Eden, Slavia and Helsinki IFK went to a shootout tied 2-2, where Mikael Granlund provided the heroics for the visitors. No stranger to providing highlight-reel goals, Granlund beat goaltender Dominik Furch with a move similar to the one used by Peter Forsberg in the 1994 Olympics to secure the victory.

Four other Czech teams in action on Saturday, however, are still in contention for positions in the Red Bull Salute, the eight-team event in Austria that will determine the winner of the European Trophy.

In České Budějovice, Jakub Kovář made 18 saves as Mountfield shut out the Vienna Capitals 4-0. The win allowed them to leap-frog over Plzeň 1929 into second place in the East Division. Plzeň picked up only a single point as they fell to visiting Slovan Bratislava 5-4 in a shootout. The home team trailed 4-1 midway through the game before scoring three in a row to force overtime. They were led in a losing cause by two goals from Radek Duda and two assists each from Martin Straka and Petr Sýkora. As Mountfield and Plzeň each have two games in hand on division-leading Slovan, they could both conceivably qualify for the Red Bull Salute.

HC Pardubice sits in top spot in the South Division with 12 points, two ahead of HV71 and three ahead of Adler Mannheim. This comes after beating rival Kometa Brno 5-4. Martin Bartek scored the game-winner with 2:07 remaining in regulation time. Pardubice and HV71 each have two games remaining, while Mannheim has three. The loss relegates Kometa to last in the division with five points.

Bílí Tygři Liberec sits in fourth place in the South with seven points, but remain in contention because they have two games in hand on most other teams. They helped their cause on Saturday night by taking two points in Linkoping, with veteran Petr Nedvěd scoring the shootout winner.

Liberec is back in action on Sunday in Oulu against Kärpät, while Plzeň, Brno and Pardubice all host Finnish clubs. The Kometa Brno-Jokerit Helsinki game can be seen at 18:00 CET on ČT4 or online at All games can be followed live online at


  1. Oh! Thank you for posting this! It's very interesting and clear! Now i understand.) Newspaper "Sport" wrote about this very boring.. and i didn't read it.. :D

  2. How is Dominik Furch developing as a goalie? Kovar seems to be improving... any chance of him finally making it over to the NHL (I think he was a 2nd rounder for Philly) and, lastly, which Petr Sykora (10 years NHL or 1 year in Washington)?

  3. Furch has yet to establish himself as a starter in the Czech Extraliga--Slavia's starter last year was Miroslav Kopřiva and I suspect he will maintain the starting job this year. Kovář was the top goalie in the Extraliga last year and third-string goalie in the World Championships, so he's probably ready to move on, possibly to the NHL, though maybe to the KHL or AHL would be the next logical step. And it's the Petr Sýkora who starred for the Devils for many years. Plzeň is his hometown.