Czechia has secured a spot in the quarter-finals of the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship thanks to a 1-0 win over the USA in both teams’ penultimate game in the group stage.
Matěj Blümel scored the game’s lone goal on a first-period breakaway and Karel Vejmelka stopped all 24 shots fired his way, including some tough ones in the closing minutes. Jeremy Swayman stopped 15 of 16 Czech shots.
Both teams entered the game tied with 10 points, with either team winning in regulation securing at least third place in Group B. Had the game been tied after 60 minutes, both teams would have been guaranteed at least fourth place and Latvia would have been eliminated. As it stands, the Latvians can still overtake the USA for fourth place if they beat Sweden and the Americans lose to Norway tomorrow.
The goal came just shy of the eight-minute mark after Hynek Zohorna blocked Luke Hughes’ shot from the point. Zohorna then beat everybody to the puck in the neutral zone and found Blümel in full flight for a breakaway. The youngster beat Swayman on a forehand deke for his fourth goal of the tournament.
The Czechs very nearly went up 2-0 with under three minutes to play in the opening period when David Pastrňák found David Krejčí at the backdoor but the HC Olomouc centre hit the goalpost. Then in the dying seconds of the period, Matthew Boldy nearly scored for the USA on a backhand in close but he hit the base of the post, with Vejmelka clearing the airborne puck out of danger with is blocker.
The Czechs got another breakaway midway through the second period when Jakub Vrána used his skate to redirect a pass to Jiří Smejkal; however, Hughes made a great defensive play to knock the puck off Smejkal’s stick before he could get a shot off.
Early in the third period, Kieffer Bellows was assessed a major penalty for an elbow on Radim Šimek. The Czechs registered four shots in the five minutes and had some great chances to widen their lead, but ultimately failed to do so.
With 11 minutes to play, the top Czech line got another great chance – this time it was Krejčí to Pastrňák for the one-timer but Swayman slid across to make the blocker save.
In the last eight minutes, the Americans began really pressing for the equalizer, and turned up the head when they went to the power play with 6:25 to go. Their best chance came when Boldy attempted to redirect a pass from T.J. Tynan for a Seth Jones tap-in but the puck hit the American captain’s skate at the edge of the crease.
With two minutes to play, Swayman went to the bench for a sixth attacker as the Americans continued to press, but Vejmelka held on for the victory and his first World Championship shutout.
04:13 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Hertl, hooking
07:53 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Blümel (Zohorna)
26:38 – 🇨🇿 PEN – team, too many players
34:01 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Hayden, tripping
42:07 – 🇺🇸 PEN – Bellows, elbowing
53:35 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Stránský, interference
W: 🇨🇿 Vejmelka (24-24)
L: 🇺🇸 Swayman (15-16)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇿 3+4+9 = 16
🇺🇸 8+7+9 = 24
🇨🇿 Goaltenders: Marek Langhamer, Karel Vejmelka. Defence: Filip Hronek, Michal Jordán, Michal Kempný, Tomáš Kundrátek, David Sklenička, Radim Šimek, Jan Ščotka (A). Forwards: Matěj Blümel, Jiří Černoch, Roman Červenka (C), Jakub Flek, Tomáš Hertl, David Kämpf, David Krejčí (A), David Pastrňák, Jiří Smejkal, Matěj Stránský, Michael Špaček, Jakub Vrána, Hynek Zohorna.
🇺🇸 Goaltenders: Strauss Mann, Jeremy Swayman. Defence: Luke Hughes, Seth Jones (C), Jaycob Megna, Andrew Peeke, Nate Schmidt (A). Forwards: Kieffer Bellows, Matthew Boldy, Sean Farrell, Alex Galchenyuk, Adam Gaudette, Ryan Hartman, Jon Hayden, Sam Lafferty, Vinni Lettieri, Karson Kuhlman, Ben Meyers, T.J. Tynan, Austin Watson (A).
||vs.||UNITED STATES (C) 🇺🇸
(previous 15 May 2022)
|Last Title||reign ends
(since 21 May 2022)
|First IHLC Meeting (CZE vs. USA)
🇨🇿 TCH 4-3 USA 🇺🇸 – 08 Feb 1948 – OG – St. Moritz 🇨🇭
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CZE vs. USA)
🇺🇸 USA 3-2 CZE 🇨🇿 – 17 May 2018 – WC – Herning 🇩🇰
|Last IHLC Game
🇺🇸 USA 3-2 SWE 🇸🇪 (OT) – 21 May 2022 – WC – Tampere 🇫🇮
|Next IHLC Game
🇫🇮 FIN 3-0 CZE 🇨🇿 – 24 May 2022 – WC – Tampere 🇫🇮