Czechs off to positive start at ice hockey worlds with wins over Sweden and Norway – next up are the Russians; and Slavia Prague overcome Viktoria Plzeň to close in on Czech football title.
The Czech Republic have got off to a positive start at the World Ice Hockey Championships in Slovakia. On Friday night coach Miloš Říha’s team made a strong statement of intent when they overcame defending champions Sweden 5:2. The Czechs opened the scoring before falling 2:1 behind. However, they then managed to find the net four more times without reply, with three of those goals coming in the final period.
One of the Czechs’ scorers, Michael Frolík, had this to say after the game.
“The first 10 minutes were good but then we eased off and they quickly scored goals in the second period. Kubalík’s goal to make it 2:2 was very important. Then we started the third period well. We turned the game around and got the win.”
On Saturday night the Czechs were again in action, against Norway. In front of a huge number of travelling supporters in Bratislava they notched up a regulation, if satisfying, 7:2 win.
The Czech Republic’s Dominik Kubalík gave his assessment afterward.
“Right from the start we played like we wanted to. We wanted to just put the pucks deep and go to the net and hopefully score some goals early in the game, and that’s what happened. After that we just cooled down a little bit, because the game yesterday was really tough. We just tried to be good on the defensive side of the game and hopefully get some breaks. That’s what happened. We had a really good game.”
The Czechs’ next game is against Russia on Monday late afternoon, after the recording of our programme.
Slavia Prague have taken a huge step toward winning Czech football’s First League for the second time in three years. Slavia beat their nearest rivals Viktoria Plzeň 3:1 in the capital on Sunday evening in a proverbial “six pointer” and now hold a five-point lead on the defending champions. The game had looked like ending in stalemate before all the goals came in a flurry in the final 10 or so minutes.
There are three more games to go this season and Slavia defender Jan Bořil said he wasn’t counting any chickens as regards lifting the title.
“I think it’s too early. We’ve taken the first step by beating Plzeň. Everybody was nervous before the game. You don’t know what to expect from such a game. We’re glad we managed it, both mentally and in terms of scoring goals.”
Sunday’s game was part of a new “superstructure” in which the top, middle and bottom groups of clubs at the end of the regular season face one another in a round robin system.