Ostrava Banik has opened the spring football schedule with 2-0 victory over Liberec, while Sparta Prague has kept pace by beating a feisty Opava side; ice hockey's Pilsen are still fighting to retain a play-off berth; Bobby Holik's 1000th game in the NHL was marred by a 6-2 loss; and skiing star Katerina Neumannova had to pull out of a world cup event after her trainer opted for the wrong skis.
Football: spring season opens with wins for Sparta as well as league leaders Ostrava Banik
By winning Sparta had of course hoped to cut into Ostrava Banik's lead at the top of the First Division but it was not to be. The other major weekend match saw Banik close-out 6th place Liberec 2-0 on two beautiful goals from Marek Heinz. The first half, though was nothing to cheer about: for some time it appeared Banik would be lucky to return home with a point, slow behind the ball and lacklustre on the field. Their luck changed in the second half, though, when Ostrava began playing fewer long balls and concentrated on a combination game, creating opportunities in the penalty area. Heinz's first goal came in the 61st minute, the second in the 77th. He remains the league's top scorer this season and his team Ostrava Banik remains the one to chase.
Additional football results
Other results in the 17th round of the First Division include Synot tying Brno 0-0, Slavia downing Blsany 2-0, Zizkov-Pilsen ending in a scoreless tie, and Ceske Budejovice gaining a solid win over Zlin 3-0.
Hockey: Pilsen wins 4-2 over Vitkovice, fighting for play-off spot
Weekend ice hockey saw Pilsen down Vitkovice 4-2, to keep their hopes for an 8th spot in this year's Czech hockey play-offs alive. Currently Pilsen are in the 10th spot just behind Karlovy Vary. Vitkovice began the weekend game with a jump, taking an early 1-0 lead. But, weak defence left gaps for Pilsen to turn the game around before the period was out. The game continued in Pilsen's favour with the power-play turning on for two goals. Vitkovice tried to bite back and eventually did get one back in the third, but Pilsen goalie Roman Malek was solid between the posts, and never looked like letting this one go. Vitkovice remain in 7th place.
View from the NHL: Holik's 1,000th game spoiled by 6-2 loss
Meanwhile, Sunday in North America's NHL saw Czech centre Bobby Holik step onto the ice for his 1,000th NHL game - no mean accomplishment. Holik's Rangers, without newly-acquired Jaromir Jagr who is out with a groin injury, faced Philadelphia and would have liked to have secured an especially important win as the playoffs approach. The hard-luck Rangers are looking for an important play-off berth and are currently in 11th spot. However, it was not to be: not even Bobby Holik could help prevent a 6-2 blow-out. Speaking of reasons to celebrate: in helping his team to victory on Sunday Philadelphia's goaltender Sean Burke secured his 300th career win - just the 20th goalie to due so. So he, and not Bobby Holik, stole the night.