Czech’s Secure Group B With Surprise Win Over USA

Czech’s Secure Group B With Surprise Win Over USA

Steven Ellis11 Dec 2017Steven Ellis»
 

The Czech Republic are off to their best World Junior A Challenge start ever thanks to a 4-2 win over the United States to remain perfect after two games.

 
 
 
 

The Czech Republic are off to their best World Junior A Challenge start ever thanks to a 4-2 win over the United States to remain perfect after two games.

The Czech's, who came into the game with a victory already to their credit, scored first. At 9:55 in the first, David Kofron stole the puck after the American power play failed to keep the puck in the offensive zone, skating down the ice for a 2-on-1. Kofron would set up Jan Hladonik in front, who fire a quick wrist shot in an open cage to initiate the scoring.

But just seconds later, the Americans would actually capitalize on their man advantage. Sam Hentges would score off a wonky angle after receiving a feed from Tyler Madden, somehow beating Adam Brizgala from the side of the net to make it 1-1.

A second shorthanded goal would give the Czech's their second advantage of the contest, once again coming while shorthanded. Kofron would create a very similar play to the first Czech goal, with Ondrej Chrtek picking up the puck in front to score on a wide open net with time winding down in the second.

The Americans would score one in the third to make things interesting, however. Jack Dugan, the second Vegas Golden Knights prospect to score in the tournament after Nick Campoli, finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play to tie the game for the defending champions.

Chrtek had himself quite the second half of the game, scoring late in the game to win the game for the Czech's. The Czech's weren't favoured, with USA typically having the upper hand in this event, but Chrtek would beat American netminder Jake Kucharski with a far wrist shot, somehow sneaking over his glove and in for the goal. Adam Brigala would get credit for the assist, adding to an incredible night between the pipes for the Czech's that included 20 saves in the third period alone. Matya Zelingr would score an empty netter late to seal the deal, giving the Czech's the 4-2 victory.

The win would secure the Group B title for the Czech's, who have never won a medal at the tournament and has the worst record of any team in the tournament. They'll get two days off before finding out their semi-final opponent, while the Americans will meet up with Canada East on Tuesday to decide the final standings of group play.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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