Czechs see early exit at Ice Hockey World Championship
Four minutes can be a long time in hockey, especially when guarding the slimmest of leads, the situation for the Czech Republic in its quarterfinal match against Sweden on Wednesday at the Ice Hockey World Championship. In the final minutes, the national team led Sweden 2-1 but failed to block an equaliser sending the game into overtime. Worse, in OT, the Swedes struck again, making this the second year in a row the Czechs will finish outside the medals.
“Milan hadn’t played in a while but it was the trainers’ decision and I don’t think it was an easy situation. But as far as yesterday’s game is concerned, he played really well. It’s just a shame he wasn’t able to [prevent the rebound] leading to the third goal.”
In overtime, things rapidly got worse: the Swedes went on the powerplay. While the Czechs fought off the 4 on 3 advantage, they were helpless only seconds later during a scramble in front of Hnilička’s net. On a rebound which Hnilička failed to smother, the puck was directed off a skate and over the goal line. It was over, the Czech players slumping in disappointment. Forward Patrik Eliáš:
There’s no question the Czechs had high hopes of bringing a medal back from Quebec, and were further motivated by the fact that the tournament is taking place in North America - an extremely rare event - where the Czechs have never clinched a medal. Now, they’ll have to move on. Changes for the Czech team are now in store. On Wednesday, after the loss, coach Alois Hadamczik announced the first: that he was stepping down.