Czechia completed their perfect sweep of the Channel One Cup, dispatching Sweden in a 4-1 victory to retain the International Hockey Lineal Championship, carrying the title and some tremendous momentum into the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
The game saw its share of controversy for Tre Kronor, with their opening goal called back early in the first period due to high sticking in front of Czech keeper Dominik Furch; the momentum swung back to the Narodnitym when defenceman Vojtěch Mozík was spotted by Michal Vondrka, who drew in two Swedish defenders behind Swedish goalie Magnus Hellberg, throwing the puck to a streaking and open Mozík to bury the opening goal, giving the 1-0 lead to the Czechs instead of Sweden.
Mozík would set up the Czechs’ second goal three and a half minutes later, finding Michal Řepík open at the left point on a Czech power play, where he was able to walk in on Hellberg, await the screen to set up, and wire a bullet past Hellberg for the 2-0 lead into intermission. The second period saw its share of controversy (and penalties) as well, the major incident being Swedish defender Jonas Junland being ejected for a check to the head. And it was while shorthanded that John Norman appeared to halve the lead on a breakaway goal, but this too was called back when it was clear the goal deflected off the crossbar and never crossed the goal line.
Sweden would finally have a goal count 39 seconds into the third period, when Joakim Lindström sniped a goal very similar to Řepík’s earlier tally, beating Furch on a screen from the point. Tre Kronor turned up the heat on Furch in the third, but were unable to capitalize, and after Martin Erat buried a huge rebound off a Jan Kovář point shot with 5:35 remaining, the Swedes were unable to recover, and an Andrej Nestrašil empty net goal sealed the 4-1 victory for the Czechs.
With the victory, Czechia retains their 70th and current International Hockey Lineal Championship, which they won four days ago from Finland in Prague, and retained two days later against Canada. This marks the first IHLC tilt between these nations since a 5-3 Swedish victory last month at the Karjala Tournament, and marks the Czechs’ 39th IHLC victory against Tre Kronor, inching them ever closer to evening the all-time record (40-39-9). The Czechs will now be guaranteed to bring the title to Korea, where they face Finland on February 11 in an exhibition tilt in Anyang, South Korea, with the winner entering the formal Olympics with the IHLC in hand.
07:50 – PEN – Mertl, holding
12:18 – GOAL – Mozík (Vondrka, Kovář)
14:37 – PEN – Stålberg, holding
15:55 – PP GOAL – Řepík (Mozík, Vondrka)
18:22 – PEN – Lev, holding
22:29 – PEN – team, too many players
32:33 – PEN – Lander, slashing
32:33 – PEN – Mozík, roughing
33:39 – PEN – Junland, checking to the head major + game misconduct
36:04 – PEN – Erat, hooking
38:46 – PEN – Erat, delay of game
40:39 – PP GOAL – Lindström (Zackrisson, Kronwall)
49:48 – PEN – Koukal, cross checking
51:48 – PEN – Vitásek, hooking
54:25 – GOAL – Erat (Kovář, Kolář)
54:42 – PEN – Lindström, interference
57:56 – EN GOAL – Nestrašil (Koukal, Erat)
W: Furch (23-24)
L: Hellberg (20-23)
SHOTS ON GOAL
11+5+8 = 24
5+7+12 = 24
Goaltenders: Pavel Francouz, Dominik Furch. Defence: Milan Doudera, Michal Jordán, Jan Kolář (A), Tomáš Kundrátek, Vojtěch Mozík, Ondřej Němec, Adam Polášek, Ondrej Vitásek. Forwards: Martin Erat (C), Petr Holík, Roman Horák, Petr Koukal, Jan Kovář (A), Jakub Lev, Tomáš Mertl, Andrej Nestrašil, Michal Řepík, Martin Růžička, Jiří Sekáč, Michal Vondrka, Tomáš Zohorna.
Goaltenders: Viktor Fasth, Magnus Hellberg. Defence: Jonas Ahnelöv, Niclas Burström, Johan Fransson, Jonas Junland, Staffan Kronwall (A), Magnus Nygren, Henrik Tömmernes, Mikael Wikstrand. Forwards: Dick Axelsson, Alexander Bergström, Andreas Engqvist, Dennis Everberg, Anton Lander, Pär Lindholm, Joakim Lindström, Joel Lundqvist (C), John Norman, Linus Omark (A), Fredrik Pettersson, Viktor Stålberg, Patrick Zackrisson.