Jiří Kulich scored three goals en route to a one-sided Czechia 9-0 win over Austria tonight in Halifax. The win moves Czechia to 2-0 and keeps them tied for first place in the Group A standings with Sweden.
Austria, now without a win in all 29 U20 games in the nation’s history, is now 0-2 this year and in danger of having to play in the Relegation Round in the new year.
Shots favoured the Czechs 47-8, but more important than shots was the offensive numbers Czechia goalie Tomáš Suchánek is putting up. He had two assists in the game tonight and has three assists in two games so far, that total a new IIHF record in U20 play.
In addition, Matyáš Šapovaliv had four assists and Gabriel Szturc had two goals for the winners.
“We won and got three points, which is great, but we have to stay grounded and be ready for our next game,” said captain Stanislav Svozil of the winners. “We played the same way the whole game, which is important. We knew Austria isn’t Canada, but they’re still a good team and we had to be ready, and we were. Looking ahead, I think we took too many penalties tonight. That’s something we’ll have to improve on.”
Both teams now have a day off before playing again on Thursday. Czechia takes on Sweden in the matinee followed by an evening tilt between the Austrians and Canadians.
“Austria was a good team, but we stayed humble and played our game,” Kulich noted. “That was the key. But we know we can be better. We’ll have a meeting tomorrow and see what are mistakes are and work on a few things.”
“We always talk about focusing on the positives, but obviously to lose 11-0 and 9-0 is tough, but maybe the third period tonight is something we can build on, with the crowd behind us. We were blocking shots and playing with emotion,” Vinzenz Rohrer of Austria noted. “They could see we didn’t want to give up. To be honest, it’s our mindset that’s the problem more than tactics or strategy. It’s mental, trying not to be scared and not focus on our opponents.”
Czechia got just the start it had hoped for, opening the scoring less than four minutes after puck drop. Jakub Brabenec took a pass in centre and flew by Austrian Tim Geifes on the right side, using his eft shot to create a favourable angle and beating Michael Sicher cleanly with a shot between the pads at 3:50.
Two late goals put the Czechs in control. Kulich tried the lacrosse move behind the Austrian goal on the power play, and although he couldn’t get the puck onto his stick quickly enough, he wired a shot high to the sort side moments later to make it 2-0 at 16:26.
“I was sad it didn’t work,” Kulich lamented after. “That was my first try! I don’t practise it a lot. It’s a tough move to make.”
Just two minutes later, they added to their tally when Petr Hauser knocked in a loose puck in the crease after Sicher, making his Team Austria debut, had made a nice glove save on a Šapovaliv breakaway.
The Czechs blew the game open in the second, though, and they got their first only 1:05 into the period. Sicher made a fine save on a Eduard Šalé breakaway, but no one took the trailer and Szturc knocked in the rebound to make it 4-0. Less than two minute later, Aleš Čech added to the tally, and midway through they got two more.
Kulich got his second of the game with a blast on the power play at 8:16 and Szturc finished a two-on-one to up the count to 7-0. Shots favoured the Czechs, 29-5, as Austria struggled to get the puck out of their end. Suchánek was hardly tested, and the third progressed with the result never in doubt.
Kulich completed his hat trick just eight seconds into the final period, deking Sicher out of position on a breakaway and sliding the puck in the open side.
Defender David Špaček closed out the scoring at 14:13 when his long blast beat Sicher over the glove eliciting a few boos from the crowd that had been animated in trying to get the Austrians to score.
02:17 – 🇦🇹 PEN – Sablattnig, hooking
03:50 – 🇨🇿 PP GOAL – Brabenec (Svozil, Suchánek)
06:43 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Brabenec, high sticking
13:05 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Hauser, hooking
14:11 – 🇦🇹 PEN – Dobnig, interference
16:26 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Kulich (Svozil, Špaček)
18:39 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Hauser (Šapovaliv, Měchura)
21:05 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Szturc (Brabenec, Svozil)
22:56 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Čech (Šalé, Šapovaliv)
26:22 – 🇦🇹 PEN – Lindner, hooking
28:16 – 🇨🇿 PP GOAL – Kulich (Šalé, Marcel)
30:02 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Szturc (Chmelař, Suchánek)
40:08 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Kulich (Šapovaliv, Jiříček)
44:49 – 🇦🇹 PEN – Scherzer, interference
44:49 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Hamara, interference
48:47 – 🇦🇹 PEN – Summer, tripping
54:13 – 🇨🇿 GOAL – Špaček (Svozil, Šapovaliv)
54:30 – 🇦🇹 PEN – van Ee, roughing
54:30 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Brabenec, roughing
58:57 – 🇨🇿 PEN – Kos, slashing
W: 🇨🇿 Suchánek (8-8)
L: 🇦🇹 Sicher (38-47)
SHOTS ON GOAL
🇨🇿 11+18+18 = 47
🇦🇹 2+3+3 = 8
🇨🇿 Goaltenders: Daniel Král, Tomáš Suchánek. Defence: Aleš Čech, Tomáš Hamara, David Jiříček (A), David Moravec, Stanislav Svozil (C), David Špaček, Jiří Ticháček. Forwards: Jakub Brabenec, Jaroslav Chmelař, Petr Hauser, Jakub Kos, Jiří Kulich (A), Marcel Marcel, Matouš Menšík, Adam Měchura, Martin Ryšavý, Gabriel Szturc, Eduard Šalé, Matyáš Šapovaliv.
🇦🇹 Goaltenders: Thomas Pfarrmaier, Michael Sicher. Defence: Lukas Hörl, Lorenz Lindner, David Reinbacher (A), Tobias Sablattnig, Aron Summer, Patrick Söllinger, Christoph Tialler. Forwards: Luca Auer (A), David Cernik, Jonas Dobnig, Jakob Engelhart, Luca Erne, Tim Geifes, Stefan Klassek, Jack Linton, Vinzenz Rohrer (C), Ian Scherzer, Max Stiegler, Johannes Tschurnig, Finn van Ee.
|🇨🇿 CZECHIA (C)
(since 26 Dec 2022)
|First IHLC Meeting (CZE vs. AUT)
🇨🇿 CZE 11-1 AUT 🇦🇹 – 22 Dec 2003 – EX – Järvenpää 🇫🇮
|Previous IHLC Meeting (CZE vs. AUT)
🇨🇿 CZE 11-1 AUT 🇦🇹 – 22 Dec 2003 – EX – Järvenpää 🇫🇮
|Last IHLC Game
🇨🇿 CZE 5-2 CAN 🇨🇦 – 26 Dec 2022 – WJC – Halifax 🇨🇦
|Next IHLC Game
🇸🇪 SWE 3-2 CZE 🇨🇿 (OT) – 29 Dec 2022 – WJC – Halifax 🇨🇦