US sweeps Czech Republic

US sweeps Czech Republic

19 Feb 2014 | Davide Tuniz

Curtain falls on a gold generation of Czech hockey


USA faces Czech Republic on their way for the quest of gold medal in Sochi. The Czech team is on the rollercoaster since the begin of the Olympics and still is looking for a continuity of results: the qualification playoff against Slovakia is a good example of this, a game Czech Republic believe to be solved after the 4-0 but ended almost in a drama.

USA  early opens the score at 01.39 with James Van Riemsdyk, courtesy of goalie Pavelec that let the puck hit his leg and get in the net. Czech has a good chance to draw the score one minute after but the good work by Jagr isn’t finalized by Plekanec, shooting on Quick. Doesn’t matter, Czech ties at 04:31 in a confusing action with shoots by Michalek and Ales Hemsky and finished with an own goal when McDonagh shooting the puck on Ryan Suter skate. It’s a good momentum for the Czechs, pushed by Russian fans, Quick has to work on Hanzal, Cervenka and is helped by the bar on Plekanec. Also the bar of Pavelec rings on a Cam Fowler shot and Czech goalie wins a one-to-one with Van Riemsdyk. At 14 Quick is outstanding in diving to rebound a tentative by Frolik moments before the second American goal, scored by Dustin Brown on a long smart pass by Kevin Shattenkirk. One second after the horn US triples with David Backes netting a bounced-off shot by Suter.

US celebrating Backes' goal

Second period has a Czech-side start with Quick more activated then Pavelec but without results while US scores again with Zach Parise and again using the crease and a bounced off shot forcing coach Hadamczik to replace a confused Pavelec. After a short break to replace a plexiglass, Czech Republic continues determinate, lead by Jagr and Zidlicky, but it’s Alexander Salak to make the most difficult saves before the last chance – a centre by Voracek none can hooked.  After four minutes in the last period USA closes the question scoring fifth goal with Ryan Kessel, assisted by Kesler. Mc Donagh has a chance at 47 but shoots on Salak, while Fowler misses the net from a favourable position. Finally Czech manages to score its second goal at 53 with a nice personal move by Ales Hemsky. It’s the last act of Czech Republic at the Olympics and the curtain on a generation – Jagr, Nedved, Elias - without many heirs on the horizon

End of the line for Jagr generation

After the game captain Zach Parise praises the team: "We have guys who are committed to playing without the puck and playing really well defensively. We're having quick breakouts and we aren't giving them a lot of time in our zone. It felt comfortable but it's always nice to go into the final stages of a game with a 5-1 lead."

Goalie Ondrej Pavelec explains the goals scored against him from strange angles: “they were unlucky goals. One hit my legs and then there was one that bounced off the boards. Twice they shot the puck and it hit the boards and it was bouncing straight in front of the net."

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