Czechs fail to stop Switzerland at Ice Hockey World Championships

Czech Republic - Switzerland, photo: CTK

If anybody was counting on Switzerland being an easy match-up at the Ice Hockey World Championships underway in Sweden they have since learned their lesson. The Swiss are the surprise of the tournament so far: first they upended hosts Sweden, then edged Canada, and on Monday added another scalp, defeating the Czechs.

Czech Republic - Switzerland,  photo: CTK
With only a single win in their first three games at the Ice Hockey World Championships, the Czechs have little to cheer about at the Ice Hockey World Championships so far. Clearly not where they hoped to be at this stage of the tournament but on Monday there was very little they could do against a fluid Swiss team, who downed them 5:2. Czech coach Alois Hadamczik said this not long after the final buzzer:

“The Swiss played moving fast and in their comfort zone. I have never seen the Swiss play this well. After three games, we can almost congratulate them on finishing first in the group.”

The Czechs, by contrast, are tied for fifth spot with Belarus, the only team they have so far beaten in the group of eight. To have a shot at advancing to the quarterfinals, the Czechs will have to play a good deal better than they have until now and try to clinch wins against easier opponents Denmark and Slovenia before facing tougher teams Canada and Norway.

To improve their position two things at least are needed: primarily a more productive offence (the squad has scored only five times in three games) and a goalie who can shut the door. Although Salák played excellently, most notably in the team’s 2:1 loss to Sweden, it wasn’t enough. It should also be noted he played two games with a broken finger, while starter Pavelec was not yet ready to return to the ice. Coach Alois Hadamczik again:

Alois Hadamczik,  photo: CTK
“We have a problem with our goalie because although Ondřej Pavelec is with the team, he still isn’t fit to return to goal. We have two days to decide whether he should return.”

The squad has since confirmed that Pavelec has recovered from his ankle injury and will be in net on Thursday against Denmark – which the coach and players no doubt hope will be a turning point in the tournament moving forward. The Swiss - the Cinderella story of the tournament so far, meanwhile, face Slovenia next.