Czechia eked out a narrow victory over Switzerland in the opening frame of their two-game Euro Hockey Challenge series, winning 1-0 on a late goal to seal the win and retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
While the game began slowly, with only 8 shots between the two teams in the opening 20 minutes, the offense opened up in the second, with both Jakub Štěpánek and Tobias Stephan sharp in net for the Czechs and Swiss, respectively. Both teams played a tight game, with lots of shots, few penalties, and many chances, but remained deadlocked at zero after two periods.
Both sides exchanged 12 shots each in the third, and a number of penalties, but it was the Eisgenossen‘s final penalty that cost them the game – just as a tripping penalty to Thomas Déruns had expired, one second later to be exact, Jiří Novotný wired the game’s opening goal past Stephan, with just 7:18 left on the clock. Štěpánek remained vigilant in the final minutes, stopping the tying attempts to hang on for the shutout win, stopping all 22 shots faced, while Stephan stopped 28 of 29 in the loss.
With the win, the Czechs retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 66th title, that they won a week earlier from Belarus in their second leg of the Euro Hockey Challenge. The Czechs meet the Swiss for the first time with the IHLC up for grabs since last year’s World Championships, where the Swiss retained in a 3-2 victory. Both teams meet again tomorrow in Litvínov, in the final EHC game for both teams before next month’s World Championships in Slovakia.
08:55 – PEN – Němec, tripping
18:42 – PEN – Déruns, hooking
26:24 – PEN – Déruns, slashing
34:04 – PEN – Vauclair, holding
39:01 – PEN – Štěpánek, delay of game
42:11 – PEN – Rubin, hooking
43:39 – PEN – Vrána, slashing
44:30 – PEN – Rüthemann, tripping
50:41 – PEN – Déruns, tripping
52:42 – GOAL – Novotný (Vondrka, Čáslava)
W: Štěpánek (22-22)
L: Stephan (28-29)
SHOTS ON GOAL
5+12+12 = 29
3+7+12 = 22
Goaltenders: Jakub Kovář, Jakub Štěpánek. Defence: Petr Čáslava, Tomáš Mojžíš, Jakub Nakládal, Ondřej Němec, František Ptáček, Vladimír Roth, Vladimir Sicak, Martin Škoula. Forwards: Radek Dlouhý, Milan Gulaš, Petr Hubáček, Peter Jánský, Lukáš Klimek, Marek Kvapil, Jiří Novotný, Ivan Rachůnek, Tomáš Svoboda, Petr Vampola, Michal Vondrka, Petr Vrána.
Goaltenders: Daniel Manzato, Tobias Stephan. Defence: Philippe Furrer, Beat Gerber, John Gobbi, Simon Lüthi, Mathias Seger, Julien Vauclair, Thomas Wellinger. Forwards: Andres Ambühl, Thomas Déruns, Paolo Duca, Ryan Gardner, Kevin Lötscher, Thibaut Monnet, Simon Moser, Martin Plüss, Daniel Rubin, Ivo Rüthemann, Julien Sprunger, Morris Trachsler.