CZECHS WORK OVERTIME, BEAT FINNS FOR FIRST WIN
JASON LA ROSE
RED DEER, Alta. – Michal Teply scored a power-play goal just 69 seconds into overtime, giving the Czech Republic its first win at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, a 5-3 triumph over Finland in the preliminary-round finale for both Wednesday.
With Anton Lundell in the box for tripping, Teply took a cross-ice feed from Marcel Barinka and absolutely wired the winner past Finnish netminder Kari Piiroinen to end a back-and-forth affair.
The win means the Czechs will take on Slovakia in the fifth-place game Friday in Edmonton (4 p.m. MT), while the Finns will face Switzerland for seventh place (12 p.m. MT).
After being blanked by the U.S. and Russia, the Czechs finally got on the board in the tournament just part the six-minute mark when Martin Has slipped in off the blue-line and ripped a shot past Piiroinen.
Veeti Miettinen answered on a Finnish power play before the end of the first period, redirecting a Leevi Aaltonen shot past netminder Nick Malik to send the game to the intermission even.
Martin Beranek counted the only goal of the second period; Jaromir Pytlik raced down the right wing and carried the puck deep into the Finland zone before throwing it in front to Bernake, who knocked in the 2-1 goal.
Piiroinen was the reason the Finns didn’t face a larger deficit after 40 minutes; the Czechs dominated in the second period, outshooting Finland 21-5, but it remained a one-goal game.
The Finns got even again just shy eight minutes into the third period when Mikko Kokkonen found room on the short side past Malik.
Radek Muzik put the Czechs ahead again at 9:48 when he converted on another power play, but Juuso Pärssinen went end to end and snuck a backhand behind Malik only 54 seconds later to tie the game once more and force overtime.
The Czech Republic finished with a 42-29 advantage in shots on goal.