The Czech Republic, ranked 7th, and Slovakia, ranked 10th, met today at the Shayba Arena in the playoff round. The Slovaks had lost all three of their preliminary round match-ups in Group A, and the Czech Republic’s sole win came against Team Latvia in the preliminary round, as they lost to both Switzerland and Sweden. Puck drop was at 9:00 PM local Sochi time, noon EST.
This game was nothing but exciting, and worth the watch if you had the opportunity – the first period alone saw the Czech Republic take a commanding 3-0 lead. Within eight minutes of the opening draw Ales Hemsky and Roman Cervenka had each scored to give the Czechs a quick two goal lead. David Krejci added the third goal with three minutes left in the period, and the Czech Republic had a solid lead and were playing great hockey going into the second period.
The second period seemed to give the Slovaks a fresh start, even though the Czech Republic scored a fourth goal and put the game further out of reach – Roman Cervenka scored his second goal of the game with five minutes left in the period. From that point on the Slovaks continued to up their game though, and the Czech Republic began faltering. Marian Hossa started the comeback for Slovakia, as he scored late in the second period to make it 4-1. The second period ended with the Czechs still up by three goals, but the Slovaks seemed to be biting at their heels.
Marian Hossa continued the comeback, scoring a second goal seven minutes into the third period. Hossa’s second goal of the game knocked the Czech lead down to two. Minutes later Slovakia scored a third goal, Tomas Surovy got the Slovaks to within one goal of tying the game. That would be as close as Team Slovakia would come to the Czech Republic though. Slovakia really put the pressure on in the final minutes of play, but the Czech Republic fought them off. Tomas Plekanec would also score an empty-netter in the final minute of the game, making the final score Czech Republic 5, Slovakia 3.
Ondrej Pavelec stopped 29 shots to earn the win for the Czech Repubic, at the opposite end of the ice, Jan Laco faced 29 shots in the loss. The Czech Republic will move onto the quarterfinals where they will face Team USA. Puck drop is scheduled for the 19th, 9:00 PM local Sochi time, noon EST. Below is an updated Olympics bracket…