Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Czechs, Swedes, Finns and Russians all win on Day 1

Playing in a tough group, the Czech U18 team knew it had to win its opener against Switzerland if it were to entertain any thoughts of advancing to the semifinals and they did just that. The hosts got goals in the last minute of the first and second periods from Dominik Volek and team captain Patrik Machač, respectively to jump out to the lead. The teams traded goals in the third, with Volek getting his second of the night before Vincent Praplan broke Patrik Polívka's shutout bid with 4:04 to play, converting on a nice backhander in front.

Dominik Volek. Photo: Jan Čech,
Karlovarský deník, hokejkv.cz.
The game was marred by foggy conditions inside the arena, which made it difficult for players, officials and fans to follow the puck at times. The problem was at its worst in the third, when the Swiss had a goal disallowed due to a quick whistle from the referee, who had lost sight of it. Moments later, Martin Matějček was stopped on a breakaway by Swiss goaltender Robin Kuonen, and the puck then sat loose in the crease for several seconds with nobody able to find it.

"It's muggy outside, and the quality of the ice suffered a bit," said coach Jiří Veber afterward. "But this is the same for all teams. The game took a lot out of the players for both teams, so it will be important to recuperate quickly. On Tuesday evening we can expect another tough battle with Canada."

Tuesday's Czech-Canada game starts at 19:00 CET, 1pm ET and 10am PT.  In the Czech Republic, the game can be seen live on ČT4 television and online at ct24.cz/sport. The Canadians are 0-1 following their opening-day loss to Sweden, and will be looking to get their first points. The first game of the day in Břeclav features 1-0 Sweden against 0-1 Switzerland at 15:30.

Meanwhile, in Piešťany, Finland doubled the USA 6-3 and Russia beat the host Slovaks 5-2. The Finns were led by a pair of goals and an assist from Teuvo Teräväinen, while Russia got the same from Denis Kamayev. The USA and Russia start things off on Tuesday at 14:00 CET, 8am ET, 5am PT, while Slovakia hosts Finland in the later game at 17:30.

All games can be followed live at eurolivescores.com.

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