President thanks Czech ice hockey team after Czech Republic lost in penalties against U.S. team

The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, has thanked the Czech national team for their performance during the Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague. The Czech Republic lost in the quarterfinals knockout stage 3-2 to Team USA on Wednesday night, leaving the team and its fans in shock. The highly-favoured Czech team was unbeaten in six games but faced its first real challenge in the Americans, who skated faster and kept the pressure on throughout the game.

Even so, the Czechs took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals from Martin Skoula and a beautiful wrap-around by Jaromir Jagr that just beat goalie Ty Conklin. The U.S. then got one back from NAME Park, and tied the game in the 3rd when Czech player Jan Hlavac deflected the puck into his own net. The goal was credited to NAME Westrum.

The game was set for overtime.

The extra period saw the Czechs bounce back into the game, turning on the pressure but unable to score. With time running out the game then went to penalty shoot-outs to decide the final outcome. In the shoot-outs the U.S. scored once, the Czechs not at all, though they hit the post twice. The winning U.S. goal came from defenseman Andy Roach who scored on a clever deke that beat Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun.

The U.S. win means that once again the host country will fail to win gold at the Ice Hockey World Championship, something which last happened in 1986 when the Soviet Union won in Moscow.