Group B – Ondrej Nepla Arena, Bratislava
The second highlight in Bratislava was the first highlight. World Champion Sweden plays against the Czech Republic. Both teams with numerous and well-known players from the NHL, such as Lundqvist, or Lindholm in the Swedish team or Voracek or Gudas in the Czech Republic.
The first chance had Sweden by Adrian Kempe, this could fend off Goalie Bartosak. The Czech Republic took the lead with the first perfect move. Kubalik with a pass on Vrana. The shoots directly and the puck goes under the schooners of Lundqvist in the gate – 1-0 (2.). The team of coach Riha continued after had chance for opportunity. Goalie Lundqvist had to hold on to shots from Frolik and Hronek, only then did Ekman-Larsson have another opportunity for Sweden. Then again the Czechs were on the train. Jaskin with one shot, Rutta’s shot is close to the goal and in a shot attempt by Simon Lundqvist could only secure the puck in the second attempt. The only power play in the first period was the Czechs. The Swedish defense defended well and crushed the good opportunities of Voracek and Palat. The last possibility before the break was Hronek, his shot could hold Lundqvist.
The “three-crown” team came with more power from the cable. With the first chance Hörnqvist scored after 30 seconds the equalizer goal to 1-1 (21.). This goal broke the flow of play in the Czech team and the Swedes came to more opportunities. Only a little later Bratt shoots and Lindblom fakes, unsustainable for Goalie Bartosak, to 2-1 for Sweden (24.). After this goal, the emotions went up and Larsson and Jaskin fought each other. Both were put on the penalty. Sweden had better chances in this 4-on-4 situation. Goalie Bartosak defended against Ekman-Larsson and Lindholm. At the halfway point of the game, the Czechs came back in the game and Simon forgives a good opportunity. It went back and forth with good chances for Sweden, Elias Pettersson and Lindblom fail at the Czech goalie. These in turn pushed for the equalizer, but Lundqvist successfully fended off shots of Simon and Musil. The emotions remained very high in this prestige duel. When it went in the direction of the second break, the Czech Republic pressed again. Kovar plays the puck across Kubalik in the Sweden Zone. He takes over directly and scores the 2-2 (37.).
The Czechs took the momentum from the middle period into the last twenty minutes. Frolik came to the puck, took a lot of time and shot at the gate of Lundqvist. The Swedish goalie was able to fend off. The puck comes to Simon who takes over directly and again fights off Lundqvist. Frolik reacted the fastest and scored the 3-2 (41.). This goal was only good after video evidence, Sweden had seen a high stick of falling Simon. Shortly thereafter Lundqvist could just hold a deflected shot from Jaskin. The Czechs pushed on and Lundqvist was able to fend off a good shot from Rutta. The emotions were still very high, Marcus Pettersson, Hörnqvist and Czech Kovar had to sit on the penalty bench. The Swedes in attack and the Czechs found more space. After a long pass from Hronek to Vrana, he scored the 4-2 (56.). Four minutes before the end, Lundqvist left the ice. The Czechs took advantage of this opportunity and Kovar Jan scored in the final minute with an empty net goal the 5-2. The Czechs deserve to win this very emotional match against World Champion Sweden.
Team Czech Republic vs Team Sweden 5-2 (1-0, 1-2, 3-0)
Group A – Steel Arena, Kosice
In Kosice there was the official opening ceremony before the game of Slovakia against USA. The tournament was opened by IIHF President René Fasel. In the roster of the US this year, some NHL stars appear, including the only 17-year-old Jack Hughes. Slovakia, as a host, wants to meet the expectations of the local audience.
Slovakia had the better start and went through a goal from Sukel very early with a 1-0 lead (5.). Then the Americans got into the game better. In the Slovaks Luntner got a 2 -minute penalty and the US team had the first power play. This was also used and DeBriancat scored the equalizer goal to 1-1 (13.). That was also the score after the first period.
After the break, the US team weakened themselves with two penalties and Slovakia had a 5:3 power play. The hosts did not miss this opportunity and Cernak put Slovakia 2-1 up (22.). This goal gave the team more confidence. After a pass from Sukel Tatar meets a few minutes later to 3-1 (25.). The USA of course tried to increase the pressure to reach the goal, but Slovakia was always dangerous in their quick counterattack. There was an open spurt with good odds, but goals did not come in that period.
After the break, an open exchange of blows developed. Both teams looked for the direct route to the goal and gave some good chances. Shortly after halftime of the period, the US came to a power play, but could not score goals. Unlike the Slovaks. Kristof exploits an ideal pass from Marincin to make it 4-1 (56.).
Team USA vs Team Slovakia 1-4 (1-1, 0-2, 0-1)