The Czech Republic have gotten off to terrible start at the ice hockey Under 20 World Championship in Canada. In their first game on Saturday, the Czechs were absolutely trashed by Sweden, a 10:1 drubbing one of their worst results in years. Sunday offered a chance to make amends, when they took on Finland. Things began brightly, and at one stage the Czech Republic had built up a 3:0 lead. Then, however, it all started going downhill, with the Finns eventually winning 4:3. Coach Jaromír Šindel was clearly frustrated after the match.
“Even the fact they reduced our lead to 3:1 was because of a mistake of ours. They had the puck behind the goal and we took the situation too lightly – that goal really didn’t need to happen. In the third period we played into their hands. There were unforced fouls, for example on their goaltender. Then we were reduced to three, again unnecessarily. That got them started and we did poorly in one-on-one situations, where they outplayed us. We conceded the goals after unforced mistakes.”
Those two defeats mean the Czech Republic’s juniors now have their work cut out if they’re to reach the quarter-finals at the World Championship; they have to beat Austria and Russia in their remaining group games, and hope other results go their way.
Moving on to the senior hockey team, anticipation is rising ahead of the announcement on Wednesday of the Czech squad for the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In an interview for Czech Television on Monday, coach Vladimír Růžička said he would at least like to emulate his predecessor Alois Hadamczik, who led the Czechs to bronze in Turin in 2006.
Slavia Prague were hammered 6:0 by Vítkovice on Sunday, in the 35th round of the Czech Extraliga. It was a home debut to forget for new Slavia goalie Milan Hnilička, and the club’s eighth defeat in 10 games. Elsewhere, leaders Plzeň beat Liberec 1:0, Pardubice scored a 2:1 victory over Kometa Brno, Mladá Boleslav were 2:1 winners against České Budějovice, and Sparta beat Třinec by the same score-line.