IIHF World Championship round up - day eight

Sunday, 8th May 2005

Hockey correspondent Tambo gives us his views on Day Eight of competition in Group A at the International Ice Hockey Federation Championship, where the events have reached Day Two of Round Two.


The big guns came out firing today with two tremendous games between Slovakia and Czech Republic and a bit of a shock for defending champions Canada against Sweden.



The Czech Republic finally got their offence on the road in this game as they swept aside the challenge of Slovakia.

The Czechs took the lead on 1.49 with a wrister from Hlavac from the left point. There was no holding the Czechs as they poured on the offence. The Slovaks were unable to generate any offence of their own until after 6 mins but Voloun was up to it. The lead doubled at the 14.24 mark when Prospal took a pass from Kaberle and shifted the puck on to Martin Straka to skate in on the left side and finish off with a high shot. The Czechs had outshot Slovakia 12-5 in the first period and took a deserved 2-0 lead into the first break.

The second period started more evenly and Slovakia pulled a goal back on the power play at 27.23 with a low slapshot from Strbak. A power play, this time for Czech Republic resulted in the restoration of the 2-goal lead. Vyborny dug the puck out of the left corner with a pass to Kaberle on the blue line. The latter then hit a beauty from centre point passed Stana at 30.51. It was all Czech Republic now and just 40 seconds later it was 4-1 with a top shelfer from Hemsky. The rout was completed at 32.23 as Kubina ripped a one timer past the hapless Stana, who was replaced by Jan Lasek after the goal.

The third was a quieter affair with the Czech Republic conserving energy and playing some of their fringe players. Slovakia outshot them 14-6 but was unable to trouble the scorers.



Poor defensive play by Canada allowed Sweden to sneak a 5-4 win over the tournament favourites and championship holders.

There was no sign of a shock on the cards when Joe Thornton put Canada a goal up on 8.13 as he used his strength to get the better of 2 Swedish checkers and backhand the puck past Lundqvist. 35 seconds later and it was 2-0. Dany Heatley, last years MVP scored his first goal of this year’s tournament, sweeping the puck home from the slot. It took the Swedes until 16.27 to break through and Daniel Sedin slapped the puck home after a melee in front of Brodeur.

Canada jumped back into a 2-goal lead after 22.07, Sheldon Souray beautifully deking a D man and moving on goal. Lundqvist stopped his shot but was unable to prevent Doan lifting the puck over him for 3-1. In an end to end game, the Swedes pulled back to 3-2 after poor defensive work by the Canadians allowed Nordstrom to rush down the right, behind the net and avoid Brodeur’s poke check to sweep the puck to Pahlsson, who scored into the gaping net. 28.14 gone and 3-2. With 1.33 left in the period, Sweden tied the game as poor defending on the blue line allowed Samuelsson to blast a shot passed Brodeur for 3-3. Canada, who had been controlling the game up till now seemed deflated at yet another defensive lapse and it, was no surprise when Zetterberg put the Swedes 4-3 up at 38.27. He passed to Pahlsson who shot weakly at Brodeur and as the goalie kicked the puck it fell to Zetterberg to knock in the rebound with the defence posted missing.

This game was far from over, however, and the Canadians hit back through Rick Nash on the power play at 46.50 with his 7th goal of the tournament when he took a cross ice pass from Thornton to bury the puck past Lundqvist. Sweden got their noses back in front at 53.47 as Pahlsson passed to Jonsson for the latter to beat the prone Brodeur. 5-4 to Sweden and this time they held on, including 45 secs without Brodeur between the sticks. A good win, classic game and no doubt there is more to come from these two teams.



Andrei Mezin posted his second shut out of the tournament as boring Belarus took the points from Kazakhstan. Erkovich scored at 29.20 and Belarus then played 5 men behind the puck for the rest of the game. Their second mark came on 59.58 with an empty netter from Koltsov. Pass the mogadon.



Latvia gained a tentative, but deserved win over Ukraine in another disappointing game at the Olympiahalle. Goals from Tamijevs, Skrastins and Semjonovs gave the noisy Latvian crowd plenty to shout about. Main talking point of the game happened at 25.39 when Ukrainian d man Yuri Gunko was hurt as he fell into a Latvian player and his head snapped back on impact. The game halted for several minutes as doctors attended to him on the ice. He was taken on a stretcher to hospital for tests. Later reports stated he had a lower lumbar injury but had feeling in all his extremities.

So to Sunday and in the relegation round, Denmark can say goodbye to the elite group should they lose to hosts Austria in the early afternoon game. Later matchups see Slovakia take on Switzerland and Canada play Finland. The evening games are Czech Republic v Russia and Sweden v USA. No easy games left at this stage of the tournament.


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