International Ice Hockey Federation

Czechs beat hosts, 5-2

Czechs beat hosts, 5-2

French can’t capitalize on power plays

Published 14.05.2017 19:17 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Czechs beat hosts, 5-2
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 14: Czech Republic's David Pastrnak #88 stickhandles the puck while France's Nicolas Besch #74 stick checks him and his teammate Florian Hardy #49 looks on during preliminary round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
The effort was there for France but the Czech penalty killers—and goaltender Pavel Fracouz—were superior.

France failed to score on two 5-on-3 chances as well as significant power-play time early in the second period. The Czechs recovered to score twice later in the period en route to a 5-2 win.

In all, France had 10:35 of power-play time compared to just 2:43 for the Czechs. Yet, the French had one power-play goal and the Czechs two.

"The power play was the difference tonight," said France's goalie, Florian Hardy. "We can't win if we don't score on those chances."

"We kind of let them in the game with those penalties, but in the end we stuck with it," said Czech captain Jakub Voracek. "Our second goal was huge. It allowed us to take control."

The French have yet to beat the Czechs (or Czechoslovakia) in eleven World Championship games dating back to 1937.

France’s chances for a place in the quarter-finals took a significant hit this afternoon as a result of the loss. They team remains in sixth spot with seven points but has only one game remaining, on Monday, against Slovenia. 

But the two teams it could possible catch—Finland (nine points) and Norway (eight)—both have two games remaining.

The Czechs, meanwhile, are in the playoffs and now are tied with Canada for first place.

"They're a great team," offered Hardy. "I thought we played well, but their goalie was good. It was tough at the end to make a comeback. We expected to make the quarter-finals, in France. Today's result is disappointing."

France had two great chances early in the first period but Francouz was that much better. Damien Fleury had a quick shot from the crease in the first minute and later Loic Lamperier was frustrated by Francouz as well.

Of course, the Czechs then scored. David Pastrnak moved into the slot and waited patiently until Florian Hardy was screened before beating him to the stick side.

But the game started to turn at the end of the first. A Roman Cervenka hooking penalty was followed quickly by a Michal Kempny double minor for high sticking. The French failed to score with the 5-on-3, but early in the second they tied the game with a one-man advantage. 

Stephane da Costa moved in on goal and tucked a nice deke through the pads of Francouz. Soon after, though, Vladimir Sobotka took another four-minute penalty for high sticking and Michal Repik was called for hooking. The French couldn’t break the game open, though, and they paid the price.

Repik came out of the penalty box, took a high pass from Tomas Kundratek deep in his end, and beat Hardy with a long, low shot that the goalie should have stopped. Despite a series of penalties, the Czechs were now up, 2-1.

"We had a tough start," Pastrnak said, "but we got the first goal, which was important. Then, we let them in the game by taking some stupid penalties. Repik's goal was huge for us." 

Then, they increased their lead on a power play of their own. Jan Rutta’s long point shot went by five players in front and beat Hardy high at 17:01 to make it 3-1 and deflate the French confidence. 

Repik got his second of the game at 8:03 of the third when he took a long pass from Kempny and beat Hardy to the glove side.

Antoine Roussel added a second French goal on a sensational effort. Radko Gudas bobbled the puck at the France blue line, and Roussel outskated everyone down the ice, beating Francouz with a nice deke for the highlight-reel goal at 10:38.

Tomas Zohorna added an empty netter with 1:03 left to close out the scoring.


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