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game recap

Czechs survive on Krejci overtime goal

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:14 AM

John Dellapina - NHL.com Staff Writer

VANCOUVER – If the only mandate in the elimination phase of any tournament simply is to survive and advance, then the Czech Republic has nothing to worry about.

But by any other measure and from any other perspective, it is difficult to view what the Czechs did Tuesday night as taking a significant step toward winning an Olympic medal.

Against what in effect is the Dynamo Riga club team from the KHL, Jaromir Jagr, Patrik Elias and Co. were fortunate to escape with a 3-2 victory over Latvia in a qualifying-round game at the University of British Columbia's Thunderbird Arena.

The victory, however unimpressive, earned the Czechs a berth in Wednesday night's quarterfinals against Finland – though they might have to play it without Jagr, who left the game with a sore neck early in the second period.

David Krejci made it possible for the Czechs' Olympic hopes to live another day by squeezing a 30-foot wrist shot through the pads of otherwise-heroic Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis 5:10 into the 10-minute, 4-on-4 overtime period. That was the 50th shot of the game that the Czechs launched at Masalskis – and one of the least threatening until the moment it went in.

"I don't think I've scored a bigger goal," said Krejci of the Boston Bruins. "This is something special. And it's pretty cool. But with our team performance today, I wasn't very happy.

"I want to forget about it. I'm going to think about my goal after the tournament is over. But right now is not the right time to celebrate that goal."

The immediate on-ice euphoria that the Czechs displayed when Krejci scored quickly dissipated amid the reality that they had melted down and nearly been upset by a team with all of two NHLers. A team almost entirely comprised of players from one city – 20 of Latvia's 23 players were born in Riga.

Having failed to build on an early 2-0 lead and then playing to kill the clock in the third period, the Czechs were stunned by a hard-work goal by Martins Cipulis with 7:58 left and the tying score off a backboards rebound by Mikelis Redlihs with 3:41 remaining in regulation.

"I'm really happy that we finally played the game that we were looking for, that our coach and the fans were waiting for from us," said Latvian captain Karlis Skrastins of the Dallas Stars. "We came back against one of the best teams in the world, the Czech national team, from 2-0. So I'm proud about my team."

The Czechs weren't even the best team on the ice over the second half of this game. And losing Jagr left a big hole.

Suffering second-day after-effects from the thunderous body check he absorbed from Alex Ovehckin in Sunday night's pool-play finale, Jagr entered this game with a sore neck. And after flubbing a shot at a half-open net early in the second period, he headed to the dressing room never to return.

"We hope he'll be available to play tomorrow," Czech head coach Vladimir Ruzicka said. "We believe he will be ready. And obviously, were hoping he can play the whole game."

The rest of the Czech team is hoping it can play a very different game against a far more formidable opponent.

"I'm just relieved, obviously, to have a chance to compete tomorrow," said Patrik Elias, the Czech captain. "It was the toughest win I've ever had, obviously. They made it hard on us. We couldn't score that third or fourth goal to give us breathing room and you saw what happened."

In fact, had Czech goaltender Tomas Vokoun not made a couple of highlight-reel stops himself – including a toe save on Cipulis during a Latvian 5-on-3 that had to be confirmed by video replay – the Latvians might be playing the Finns in the quarterfinals.

"Obviously, we got a win that was important," Krejci said. "But the way we played today we can't play tomorrow. So I would prefer to forget about this game and move forward. And tomorrow is going to be the biggest game of my career.

"So I'll get ready tonight and tomorrow and be ready to show lots of heart tomorrow. I'm sure everybody else will do that, too."


GAME SUMMARY

SCORING
CZE 2 0 0 1 - 3
LAT 0 0 2 0 - 2

First Period

1. CZE, Rolinek (Kuba, Havlat) 5:52
2. CZE, Fleischmann (Krejci, Cervenka) 11:06

Penalties
- Pujacs LAT (hooking) 4:08, Berzins LAT (interference) 14:40, Jagr CZE (hooking) 18:10.


Second Period

Penalties - Ankipans LAT (slashing) 0:19, Fleischmann CZE (roughing) 2:14, Polak CZE (high sticking) 2:40, Hejda CZE (hooking) 8:39.


Third Period

7. LAT, Cipulis (Nizivijs, Redlihs) 12:02
8. LAT, Redlihs (Berzins, Darzins) 16:19

Penalties - Nizivijs LAT (tripping) 0:40, Michalek LAT (holding) 3:00, Daugavins CZE (holding) 7:10.

OT Period

9. CZE, Krejci (Fleischmann) 5:10


SHOTS ON GOAL
CZE  16 15 17  2 - 50
LAT    4 13   7  2 - 26

Goaltenders (goals-shots against) - CZE: Vokoun (W, 2-18); LAT: Masalskis (L, 5-39).

Power plays (goals-chances) - CZE: 2-7; LAT: 1-5.





Latvia
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
21 A. Berzins 6'3" 214 12/27/1983 Riga, LAT
47 M. Cipulis 5'11" 187 11/29/1980 Cesis, LAT
10 L. Darzins 6'3" 201 1/28/1985 Riga, LAT
16 K. Daugavins 6'1" 205 5/18/1988 Riga, LAT
28 Z. Girgensons BUF 6'1" 190 1/5/1994 Riga, LAT
70 M. Indrasis 6'3" 187 9/30/1990 Riga, LAT
51 K. Jass 6'0" 192 5/4/1990 Riga, LAT
15 M. Karsums 5'10" 194 2/26/1986 Riga, LAT
91 R. Kenins 6'0" 201 2/28/1991 Riga, LAT
79 V. Pavlovs 6'5" 216 6/17/1989 Riga, LAT
24 M. Redlihs 5'11" 179 7/1/1984 Riga, LAT
5 J. Sprukts 6'3" 225 1/31/1982 Riga, LAT
3 J. Stals 6'3" 207 4/8/1982 Riga, LAT
12 H. Vasiljevs 5'11" 185 5/23/1976 Riga, LAT
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
37 O. Bartulis 6'3" 203 1/21/1987 Ogre, LAT
29 R. Freibergs 5'11" 192 5/17/1991 Riga, LAT
32 A. Kulda 6'2" 216 7/25/1988 Leipzig, GER
8 S. Ozolinsh 6'3" 214 8/3/1972 Sigulda, LAT
81 G. Pujacs 6'0" 216 6/11/1981 Riga, LAT
9 K. Redlihs 6'2" 205 1/15/1981 Riga, LAT
6 A. Rekis 5'11" 198 1/1/1979 Jurmala, LAT
11 K. Sotnieks 6'0" 192 1/29/1987 Riga, LAT
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
50 K. Gudlevskis 6'4" 190 7/31/1992 Aizkraukle, LAT
31 E. Masalskis 5'10" 187 3/31/1980 Riga, LAT
1 E. Mustukovs 6'0" 187 4/7/1984 Riga, LAT
Czech Republic
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
10 R. Cervenka 5'11" 201 12/10/1985 Praha, CZE
26 P. Elias NJD 6'1" 195 4/13/1976 Trebic, CZE
91 M. Erat WSH 6'0" 196 8/29/1981 Trebic, CZE
67 M. Frolik WPG 6'1" 198 2/17/1988 Kladno, CZE
11 M. Hanzal PHX 6'6" 230 2/20/1987 Pisek, CZE
83 A. Hemsky EDM 6'0" 185 8/13/1983 Pardubice, CZE
68 J. Jagr NJD 6'3" 230 2/15/1972 Kladno, CZE
46 D. Krejci BOS 6'0" 188 4/28/1986 Sternberk, CZE
9 M. Michalek OTT 6'2" 216 12/7/1984 Jindrichuv Hradec, CZE
93 P. Nedved 6'3" 196 12/9/1971 Liberec, CZE
12 J. Novotny 6'3" 204 8/12/1983 Pelhrimov, CZE
18 O. Palat TBL 5'11" 174 3/28/1991 Frydek Mistek, CZE
14 T. Plekanec MTL 5'11" 196 10/31/1982 Kladno, CZE
89 J. Voracek PHI 6'2" 214 8/15/1989 Kladno, CZE
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
8 M. Barinka 6'3" 225 6/12/1984 Vyskov, CZE
3 R. Gudas TBL 6'0" 204 6/5/1990 Prague, CZE
7 T. Kaberle 6'1" 212 3/2/1978 Rakovnik, CZE
25 L. Krajicek 6'3" 205 3/11/1983 Prostejov, CZE
23 Z. Michalek PHX 6'2" 210 12/23/1982 Jindrichuv Hradec, CZE
32 M. Rozsival CHI 6'1" 212 9/3/1978 Vlasim, CZE
5 L. Smid CGY 6'3" 209 2/1/1986 Frydlant, CZE
2 M. Zidlicky NJD 5'11" 190 2/3/1977 Most, CZE
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
1 J. Kovar 6'0" 201 7/19/1988 Pisek, CZE
31 O. Pavelec WPG 6'3" 220 8/31/1987 Kladno, CZE
53 A. Salak 6'1" 190 1/5/1987 Strakonice, CZE