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IIHF World Junior Championships: Czech Come Back Falls Short Against Germany

Matt Kenyon

After defeating the 2019 bronze medal champions on Thursday, the Czech Republic returned to the ice to take on Germany in front of a full house at Ostravar Arena. Without the help of Jakub Lauko who was injured in the game against Russia, the host nation would have to rely upon more of their offense to continue stepping up for them.

The Czechs home ice advantage slipped away quickly however as Matej Pakar was called for penalty just nine seconds into the game and Lukas Reichel poked a loose puck in the goal crease into the net on the ensuing power-play to give Germany a 1-0 lead just one minute and forty one seconds into the first period. 2020 NHL Draft prospect John Peterka took a pass in front of the Czech net and added onto the German lead six minutes later to make it a 2-0 lead and putting the hosts on their heels. A late Czech power-play would allow the capacity crowd to finally erupt when Martin Hugo Has scored to bring the German lead down to 2-1 with just over three minutes left in the opening frame and capping the scoring heading into the first intermission.

Penalty trouble continued for the hosts to open the second period with the Czech Republic finding themselves shorthanded just over a minute into the period. The teams would trade scoring chances with both goaltenders shining bright, before Czech captain Libor zabransky was called for a check from behind late in the period. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Domink Bokk scored the only goal of the period on the power-play once again for the Germans to extend their lead to 3-1 once again silencing the Ostravar Arena. Czech Republic came within inches of making it a one goal game again when defenseman Simon Kubicek hit the crossbar on a shot from outside the blueline in the dying seconds of the period. 

For the third straight period an early penalty would be called, this time against the Germans giving the Czech republic an early opportunity to cut into the two goal lead, but that would expire quietly once again as the hosts continued to struggle on the man advantage. A frustrating game for the Czechs would continue as Dominik Bokk walked into the the Czech zone on the power-play with twelve and a half minutes left in the period and fired a shot that beat Lukas Dostal to give Germany a 4-1 lead on his second goal of the game. Two minutes later, however, the Czechs would get a bit of life as a shot from Jan Jenik deflected off a German stick past Hendrik Hane to cut the lead in half to 4-2. The Czechs continued to get the breaks as the Germans would go to a five on three penalty kill with nine minutes remaining, and finally the Czech power-play would capitalize as Moose Jaw Warriors product and Czech captain Libor Zabransky scored to bring the hosts within one goal with seven and a half minutes left in regulation. The hosts got a few more looks at the net but ultimately Dominik Bokk’s second goal of the game proved to be the game winner as the Germans held on to defeat the hosts 4-3.

Going forward for the Czech Republic, they will head into two tough back to back games in the “Group of Death” with a game against the United States on Monday at 1:00pm EST followed by Canada to close out the preliminary round on New Years Eve day. 

Photo Credit: Team Germany (Twitter)

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