A determined Czech squad took advantage of tight defensive play and a late power play goal to eke out a 4-1 victory over Canada at the Channel One Cup in Moscow, retaining the International Hockey Lineal Championship.
While the opening frame saw tight defensive play, only 11 shots combined, and solid goaltending from both Pavel Francouz and Barry Brust, the scoring was opened midway through the second on a Matt Ellison wire from the point, beating Francouz on a screen and giving Canada the 1-0 lead. But with just 31 seconds remaining in the period, a failed Canadian clearing attempt was intercepted by Vojtěch Mozík, who found Michal Řepík waiting all by his lonesome in front of a stunned Brust, who was completely unprepared for Řepík, who popped in the tying goal to end the second even at 1-1.
It was Mozík who would again architect a goal for the Narodnitym, this time on their first power play of the game, ripping a point shot past heavy traffic in front of Brust, beating Brust blocker side to give Czechia their first lead of the night. Canada, who ended up taking all three of their penalties in the final frame, finally managed to pull Brust in the final minute, but were unable to challenge Francouz, and Martin Erat and Řepík both buried empty net goals to put the final score at 4-1, despite the closeness of the game for the first 45 minutes of action.
With the win, Czechia retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 70th title, which they won two days ago in Prague from Finland. This matchup marked the 76th time in history that the Czechs and Canada have faced off for the IHLC, a series which Canada now leads 37-33-6, and is the first win for the Czechs in five tries, their first meeting since last year’s World Championship opener. The Czechs will now close out the Channel One Cup in two days against Sweden, with the winner being guaranteed of bringing the IHLC to Korea next February.
05:49 – PEN – team, too many players
31:04 – PEN – Řepík, interference
31:42 – PP GOAL – Ellison (Gragnani, Kozun)
33:16 – PEN – Zohorna, high sticking
39:29 – GOAL – Řepík (Mozík)
45:37 – PEN – Howden, interference
46:53 – PP GOAL – Mozík (Polášek, Kovář)
50:12 – PEN – Beck, tripping
57:28 – PEN – team, too many players
59:28 – EN GOAL – Erat (Sekáč, Němec)
59:56 – EN GOAL – Řepík
W: Francouz (19-20)
L: Brust (18-20)
SHOTS ON GOAL
6+7+9 = 22
5+6+9 = 20
Goaltenders: Pavel Francouz, Dominik Furch. Defence: Milan Doudera, Jan Kolář (A), Tomáš Kundrátek, Zbyněk Michálek, Vojtěch Mozík, Ondřej Němec, Adam Polášek, Ondrej Vitásek. Forwards: Martin Erat (C), Roman Horák, Petr Koukal, Jan Kovář (A), Dominik Kubalík, Jakub Lev, Tomáš Mertl, Andrej Nestrašil, Michal Řepík, Martin Růžička, Jiří Sekáč, Michal Vondrka, Tomáš Zohorna.
Goaltenders: Barry Brust, Ben Scrivens. Defence: Stefan Elliott, Chay Genoway, Marc-André Gragnani, Shawn Lalonde, Chris Lee (A), Maxim Noreau (C), Mat Robinson. Forwards: Taylor Beck, Rene Bourque (A), Matt Ellison, Matt Frattin, Ryan Garbutt, Quinton Howden, Brandon Kozun, Eric O’Dell, Teddy Purcell, Derek Roy, Max Talbot, Linden Vey, Wojtek Wolski.