In this week’s Sports News: The Czech national team wins the Euro Hockey Tour ahead of world championship while the national team coach announces his picks for the upcoming world championships; and in soccer, Liberec conserve their four-point lead in the Gambrinus liga.
Hockey: Czech team takes Euro Hockey Tour title for first time in 14 years
The Czechs first beat Sweden 5:3 on Thursday, then lost to Finland in the penalty shootout before taking on the Russians on Sunday. The Russian team dominated the first half of the game and went ahead 1:0 early in the second period. But the Czechs’ equalizer came some 14 minutes later with Jakub Petružálek, and Petr Nedvěd then scored the winning goal with just over a minute to go in the second period. Forward Petr Časlava had this to say about his team’s historic victory:
“We thought we could win the match ahead of the world championships, but I think what is most important for us is that it was a huge motivation boost to beat two strong teams: Sweden and Russia, that is what really counts for us.”
Hockey: National team coach presents nominations for world championships
Surprisingly, left-winger Jiří Tlustý, who plays for the Carolina Hurricanes, will not be able to join the national team. Coach Hadamczik on the Czech representation:
“Jiří Tlustý has been having problems with his shoulders and won’t be able to join the team. We can take 14 forwards to the world championships, and we are taking one extra player, just in case. We imagine that we will have two goalies, six defense players, twelve forwards. We will leave two defense slots and three forwards open, and wait how the second of the NHL playoffs pans out.”
Coach Hadamczik also picked the goalies Jakub Štěpánek from St Petersburg and Jakub Kovář from České Budějovice; the roster includes eight players from the KHL, seven from the NHL, and six from the Czech league.
The IIHF World Championships in Finland and Sweden kick off on May 4; in its first appearance, the Czech team will play Denmark.
Soccer: Liberec beat České Budějovice 4:0
“Budějovice were in a safe place, so I think that the motivation was on our side, and I think that you could see it, after the first and then the second goal, we dominated the game and then we scored another two. Of course we are very happy to have maintained our lead.”
Sparta Prague beat Olomouc 1:0 on Friday keeping their hopes for the title alive. The third contester for the crown, last year’s champions Viktoria Plzeň, face Slavia Prague later on Monday. If Plzeň win, they will remain third with five points behind leaders Liberec.