Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quarterfinals begin Thursday

On Tuesday night, PSG Zlín defeated Oceláři Třinec 4-1 in the fifth and decisive game of their preliminary round series. In addition to dethroning the reigning champions of the Czech Republic, it also rounded out the field of the final eight teams and locked in the quarterfinal match-ups. Read Jon Rowson's recap of the game at

In addition to being a fellow Eurohockey writer, Rowson also blogs about Czech and Slovak hockey at Velvet Hockey, and he recently made predictions about the upcoming quarterfinal round. Rowson has picked all four higher seeds to advance, which is hard to argue with, though it hasn't been the norm in recent years.

Trying to pick the winners of Czech playoff series is often a guessing game, as upsets are common. Every year, there seems to be a club that comes out of nowhere to go deep into the playoffs. Last year, seventh-seeded Slavia Praha upset second-seeded Liberec in the quarters and then led first-place Třinec three games to one in the semifinals before ultimately succumbing. Třinec became the first team since 2002 to finish first during the regular season and then win the playoff tournament as well.

This year, though Sparta and Plzeň would seem to be favourites in their series, nothing is guaranteed, and the other two series are almost up in the air.

The quarterfinal match-ups are as follows:

(1) Sparta Praha vs (8) Kometa Brno
(2) Plzeň 1929 vs (7) Zlín
(3) Pardubice vs (6) Vítkovice
(4) Bílí Tygři Liberec vs (5) České Budějovice

Pardubice-Vítkovice and Liberec-České Budějovice play their first two games on Thursday and Friday, followed by the other two series on Saturday and Sunday. The above mentioned Rowson, Petr Polák and myself will combine to provide daily coverage of the action at

From, here is the schedule of the quarterfinal games that we know will take place. All times are Central European and all games will be webcast at

Thursday, March 8 - 1st games:
18:10 HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice - HC Vítkovice Steel (Nova Sport)
18:30 Bílí Tygři Liberec - HC Mountfield České Budějovice

Friday, March 9 - 2nd games:
18:10 Bílí Tygři Liberec - HC Mountfield České Budějovice (ČT4)
18:30 HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice - HC Vítkovice Steel 

Saturday, March 10 - 1st games:
17:30 HC Sparta Praha - HC Kometa Brno (Nova Sport)
17:30 HC Plzeň 1929 - PSG Zlín

Sunday, March 11 - 2nd games:
17:00 HC Sparta Praha - HC Kometa Brno
18:10 HC Plzeň 1929 - PSG Zlín (ČT4)

Monday, March 12 - 3rd games:
17:30 HC Vítkovice Steel - HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice
18:10 HC Mountfield České Budějovice - Bílí Tygři Liberec (Nova Sport)

Tuesday, March 13 - 4th games:
17:30 HC Mountfield České Budějovice - Bílí Tygři Liberec
17:40 HC Vítkovice Steel - HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice (ČT4)

Wednesday, March 14 - 3rd games:
17:40 PSG Zlín - HC Plzeň 1929 (ČT4)
18:00 HC Kometa Brno - HC Sparta Praha

Thursday, March 15 - 4th games:
17:30 PSG Zlín - HC Plzeň 1929
18:10 HC Kometa Brno - HC Sparta Praha  (ČT4)

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