Czechs beat Latvia, face Canada next at Ice Hockey World Championship

Tomáš Rolinek scores, photo: CTK

The Czech Republic has kept its hopes of advancing at the Ice Hockey World Championship alive after beating Latvia 3:1 on Monday, but they will have to earn one more point in the final stage if they are to qualify for the knockout rounds. On Tuesday afternoon the team will face Canada and will need a win or at worst a tie in regulation time.

Tomáš Rolinek scores, photo: CTK
This year’s World Championship in Germany has so far not been a great tournament for the Czech Republic, defeated in games against Norway and Switzerland, until Monday having triumphed only over Sweden and France. Luckily, on Monday, the team put its bid to advance to the knock-out stages back on track, defeating Latvia in a do-or-die game by a score of 3:1. Interestingly, the Czechs’ first two goals came when the team was short-handed and both were potted by team captain Tomáš Rolinek, whose only other goal during the tournament also came when the team was a man short. After the game, this is what the team captain, who plays for Magnitogorsk in the KHL, had to say:

“We scored two goals short-handed and while that seems unusual, we’re really just happy that we won. We knew what was at stake and we knew that we had to win no matter what.”

Advancement to the next stage is not yet a done deal for the Czechs: they will need a point from their game against Canada later on Tuesday or they will face a deeply disappointing exit. A loss would mean the Czech Republic’s worst result ever in the World Championship; until now, the Czech Republic’s worst finish was seventh in 1994 in Italy and even then that came after the team had advanced but lost in the quarterfinal round.

Czech Republic - Latvia, photo: CTK
Defeat on Tuesday is something that fans certainly won’t want to see though it could be a tough match: the Czechs face traditional powerhouse Canada, with only the consolation that even Canada has stumbled a few times and shown a few cracks at the World Championship in Germany. The Czechs will no doubt do their utmost to win or at least tie for one point, to take them through to the next round.