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Czech Republic Defeats Kazakhstan at the 2016 World Championships

Vitali Kolesnik was excellent in goal for the Kazakhs, stopping 33 of 35 shots, but he alone could not produce an upset.

With the win the Czechs take a firm grip on first place in Group A with 14 points, five up on Russia, which has a game in hand.

The loss leaves the Kazakhs in a tricky spot. Their two points keeps them in last place with Latvia, which could move up if it wins points in tonight’s game against the Danes.

The Czechs and Kazakhs have played only twice previously, the Czechs winning both, in 2004 and 2005.

“It was tough for us today because we played yesterday as well,” said Czech Jan Kolar. “We weren’t too worried that it was taking a long time to get the game wrapped up. In a tournament like this you sometimes just have to grind out the win without playing pretty.”

The only goal of the first came early. A Kazakh turnover along the boards in their end allowed David Pastrnak to blast a shot form the point. Kolesnik made the save, but Plekanec lifted the rebound in for a 1-0 Czech lead.

The Czechs seemed content to play to a 1-0 game, and they controlled play nicely for the first half of the second, but a funny thing happened on the way to victory. The Kazakhs started to gain in confidence, played a little more aggressively, and created several good scoring chances.

That it was still a 1-0 game after 40 minutes was only because of some misfiring, some nice work in the crease by Pavel Francouz, and a bit of bad luck.

Plekanec made it 2-0 at 2:51 of the third. Pastrnak spotted the captain while coming out of the corner, and fed a perfect pass to Plekanec in the slot. His quick shot was deadly accurate.

Kazakhstan made it interesting with a goal with 4:30 left in regulation time. The Canadian-born tandem connected when Dustin Boyd had the puck behind the Czech net and fired a pass in front where Nigel Dawes one-timed it past a surprised Francouz.

That’s as close as they got. Robert Kousal added an empty-netter with 1:09 left to seal the deal for the Czechs.

“Their first line was strong and they were good on the PP, but in this competition you expect that every team will cause you problems,” Kolar added. “There’s really not much between any of the teams here.”

The Czechs have a day off before playing Denmark on Sunday, but Kazakhstan is back at it tomorrow in a critical match against Latvia.

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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