U.S. falls to Czech Republic
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Petr Holik scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and Petr Mrazek made 52 saves to lead the Czech Republic to a 5-2 win over the United States on Friday at the world junior hockey championship.
The Detroit Red Wings prospect turned back point-blank shots and goalmouth redirections, stopped a penalty shot and even got a little help from the goalpost in the win.
The U.S. (1-2) was sent to the relegation round later Friday when Finland beat Denmark 10-1. The U.S. plays Canada on Saturday.
Petr Holik tapped in a goalmouth rebound with less than eight minutes to go in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.
Thomas Filippi added a goal at 17:19, followed by an empty-net goal by Holik just over a minute later.
"I was so focused before the game because it was America and I'm playing in (North) American hockey," said Mrazek, who plays in the Ontario Hockey League. "I wanted to win this game.
"The guys helped me a lot in the zone, with rebounds. It's a win for the team."
The victory also assured Canada (3-0) it would win Pool B and get a bye to the semifinal.
Filippi finished with two goals. Tomas Hertl also scored for the Czech Republic while T.J. Tynan and Bill Arnold scored for the U.S.
The win put the Czechs (2-1) in second place in Pool B. The Czechs wrap up the preliminary round against Finland on Saturday.
U.S. forward Jason Zucker said the loss was stunning.
"No words can describe it," Zucker said.
"We played a fantastic game tonight. I thought we played outstanding.
"Usually if you get 54 shots in a game you give yourself a good chance to win (but) hats off to them. They played well and their goalie played great."
The U.S. opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 5:14 of the first period. J.T. Miller, streaking down the left wing, slipped the puck through the slot, which Tynan then redirected past Mrazek.
The Czechs were playing short-handed at the time after forward Petr Straka was given a boarding major and a game misconduct for ramming U.S. defenseman Derek Forbort into the boards at center ice.
The Czechs answered at 12:05 when forward Filippi fired a shot from close in on U.S. goalie Jack Campbell.
Campbell blocked the shot with his pad, but before he could smother the puck Filippi banged it through his legs and into the net.
The U.S. outshot the Czechs 18-6 in the period, but the game was tied at one.
The U.S. regained the lead at 11:50 of the second period. Mrazek deflected a bad-angle shot from U.S. forward Jason Zucker right to Arnold, who was standing at the side of the crease for the quick tap-in.
Czech forward Hertl answered three minutes later, grabbing a turnover in the U.S. end, walking in alone on Campbell and lifting a backhand over Campbell's left shoulder.
That set the stage for a frantic third period that had the U.S. put 21 shots at Mrazek -- and lose.
"I don't really know what to say," Miller said.
"We hit three posts, so I guess it just wasn't our day I guess.
"It's not like we played bad and got beat up on. We played our best and it still wasn't enough, which is just really upsetting."
In other games, Teemu Pulkkinen tied a tournament record with four goals in the third period and Finland topped winless Denmark 10-1.
Miikka Salomaki had two goals and two assists for Finland (2-1) while Ville Pokka had a goal and two assists.
Jani Hakanpaa, Joel Armia and Mikael Kuronen also scored.
Patrick Bjorkstrand had the only goal for Denmark (0-4), which is headed to the relegation round.
At Calgary, Erik Thorell and Sebastian Collberg each scored twice and had an assist and Sweden topped Slovakia 9-1.
Johan Sundstrom, Max Friberg, Mika Zibanejad, Rickard Rakell and Joakim Nordstrom scored for Sweden (3-0).
Mare Tvrdon's first-period goal on the power play tied the game for Slovakia (1-2), but the team didn't score again.
Swedish goaltender Anton Forsberg made 14 saves for the win, while Dominik Riecicky made 46 saves despite allowing all nine goals.
Sweden can win Pool A with a victory over Russia in its final round-robin game Saturday.
Also in Calgary, Gaetan Haas and Christian Marti scored goals a minute apart late in the third period and Switzerland earned a hard-fought 5-3 win over Latvia.
Looking for its first victory at the tournament, Latvia (0-4) tied the game 3-3 when Vitalijs Hvorostinins scored at 12:42 of the third period.
But Haas scored his second of the game 22 seconds later then Marti added another goal to keep the Latvians winless.
Christoph Bertschy also scored twice for Switzerland (1-1-1).
Toms Andersons and Nikita Jevpalovs had the other goals for Latvia.
Tim Wolf made 20 saves for the Swiss, while Latvia's Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 36 shots.
Switzerland faces Slovakia on Saturday with a spot in the quarterfinals at stake, while Latvia heads to the relegation round.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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