Saturday, August 18, 2012

August hockey heats up

Although I'm away from the Czech Republic for the month of August, the world of hockey continues on. Perhaps the most significant thing I've missed in my absence is the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. In 2011, I attended every game played in Břeclav, covering it for Czech Hockey Report as well as

In 2012, Eurohockey was on hand again, with Jon Rowson, Henrik Lundqvist (not the goalie) and Romon Solovyev doing a good job of providing coverage. For those who missed it, Canada won the tournament for the fifth straight year, defeating Finland 4-0 in the final. The Czech Republic, who feared a lack of offense heading in, made it to the semifinal where they fell 2-1 to Sweden on a late goal.

However, the Ivan Hlinka was not the only hockey event going on in Moravia this weekend. The Women's Summer Camp finished up in Brumov-Bylnice, with Tyler Bilton providing coverage. Slavia Praha was the Czech representative at the seven-team event, finishing second by taking 13 of a possible 18 points. Slavia's only regulation loss was to Russian club HC Tornado, who blew away everybody they faced, outscoring their opponents 32-1 over the course of the tournament.

Kverka takes the opening faceoff vs Norway.
While two international tournaments finished on Saturday, another began. For the second straight year, HC Karlovy Vary is representing the Czech Republic at the World Junior Club Cup in Omsk, Russia. They finished second place last year and are off to a good start in 2012, beating the Norway U20 national team 3-1 in the opening game. KV got two first period goals from Tomáš Harkabus and another in the first minute of the second from captain Jaromír Kverka, while Vladislav Habal stopped 19 of 20 Norwegian shots.

"Today it was a very important game that we did not want to lose, we wanted to gain confidence, which we finally did," Kverka told the MHL website. "Norway played aggressive hockey and at the beginning we had problems, but then we started playing smarter and we won."

Things should only get more difficult from this point. After playing the United States Hockey League's Waterloo Black Hawks on Sunday (16:00 MSK, 14:00 CET, 7am CT), they play two MHL teams: the host Omsk Hawks (Tuesday) and Dinamo-Shinnik Bobrusk (Wednesday). Karlovy Vary will be a member of this league too in the upcoming season.

Tournament semifinals will be played Saturday and the final on Sunday.

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