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Czech Republic Blanks Host Russia in 2016 World Championships opener

The sold out crowd eagerly awaited for their host nation of Russia to kickoff the 2016 IIHF World Championships on a bright note but instead got quite a surprise.

Tomas Kundratek and Roman Cervenka provided the first two goals of the game to build a 2-0 lead, and Michal Birner added an empty-netter. Netminder Dominik Furch was lights out at all the right moments for the Czechs to record the shutout, making 25 saves in his debut with the team.

“I don’t want to give away any secrets about our strengths,” Kundratek said, “but you saw tonight that we’re a fast team, and we play physcially. Our goalie stopped a lot of pucks and made some big saves.”

“Bobrovski played really well,” said Russian coach Oleg Znarok. “The goals were a deflection and a rebound, and the third was into an empty net, so there are no complaints about his game.”

“The first goal we really important for us,” Cervenka acknowledged. “We knew that Russia has a strong team, it’s a big favourite in this group, but we’ve already played a lot of good games against them and we won several times so we were confident that we could do it again.”

Cervenka connected on a power play 48 seconds into the second. A quick Jakub Jerabek point shot was stopped weakly by Bobrovski and Cervenka was at the top of the crease to poke the puck in.

The Russians dominated the second half of the period. Sergei Mozyakin was alone in front with time to spare, but his wicked wrist shot snapped off the crossbar and out of play.

The Russians went 0-for-5 with the man advantage, no more importantly than in the final period when they had a 5-on-3 for 18 seconds.

The Czechs are back at it tomorrow night, playing Latvia in the late game. The Russians have a day off before playing recently-promoted Kazakhstan on Sunday.

Igor Burdetskiy

Igor Burdetskiy

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & CEO at Hooked on Hockey Magazine
I grew up playing Ball and Roller Hockey day and night somewhat religiously throughout elementary and middle school. The two don't compare though when I lace up the skates and hit the ice. I live and breathe hockey beyond the perspective of "it's just a game" and I will gladly talk hockey for hours with anyone. Hockey is more than just a lifestyle, it's a culture of passionate people who make memories every time the puck is dropped. Hockey has not only helped me get through some of the hardest times in life but has created some of the best memories to date. Want to talk hockey with me? Shoot me an email: iburdetskiy@hookedonhockey.com and let's talk some hockey!
Igor Burdetskiy
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