Because the International Ice Hockey Federations (IIHF) uses a 3,2,1 point system (3 points for a regulation win, 2 points for overtime/shootout win and 1 point for a overtime/shootout loss) this result could have major consequences in the standings.
It was kind of a boring, feeling out first period where the teams managed just 6 shots apiece. For the most part, the Czech’s held the advantage in puck possession time but were unable to capitalize.
The Russians had the best opportunity in the first when Jakub Zboril was called for a match penalty for boarding – a weak call that should not see supplemental discipline. But the opportunity went wayside as Sergei Boikov broke his stick on a shot from the point and as he chased down the Czech’s going up ice and taking a holding penalty.
The period would end scoreless.
Michael Spacek would get the checks on the board in the second when he ripped a shot passed Russian goaltender Alexander Georgiev. Sadly for Czech fans, the goal was called back as David Kase was called for a crease violation.
Spacek would get another opportunity a minute later as he was sent in alone on Georgiev. But a hard slash by Russian defender Alexander Mikulovich caused him to miss the net and was awarded a penalty shot. Spacek moved in on Georgiev, moved to his right and showed tremendous patience waiting for the goaltender and roofed the puck to give the Czechs the lead.
The Czech’s would take that lead to the dressing room having outshot the Russians 17 to 12 through two frames.
The Czechs seemed to take the foot off the peddle in the third as the Russians came on and held the advantage in possession. Midway through the third, Radel Fazleyev kept the puck in at the blue line and moved towards the Czech net. He threw the puck in front of the goal where a couple of Russians banged away before Artur Lauta banged it home to tie the game.
The score would remain even at the end of regulation as did the shots at 22 apiece.
The Czechs held a small advantage in overtime outshooting the Russians 3 – 0 but it solved nothing and the two teams would head to a shootout.
Maxim Lazarev would shoot first for Russia. As he moved in on Czech goaltender Vitek Vanecek he made a subtle move to get Vanecek to open up the 5 hole and slid the puck in for the only goal of the shootout and the Russian victory.
As for the Czechs, they either know something we don’t are are just hoping for help for the team that could struggle to score goals. They’ve left a roster spot open and are hoping – or know – help is on the way as the NHL’s Boston Bruins consider loaning David Pastrnak to the squad once the NHL roster freeze is lifted on December 28.
Pastrnak has missed 7 weeks of NHL action with a broken foot but has played in 2 AHL games since. If he’s in any kind f decent shape, he bolster the Czech offense.