Welcome |Account|Sign Out 
NEW! SIGN IN WITH YOUR SOCIAL PROFILE
OR
Username or EmailPassword
Czech Republic
Latvia

39 SOG
20 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CZE
LAT
game recap

Jagr, Czech Republic hold off pesky Latvia

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 2:07 PM

Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor

Share with your Friends


Jagr, Czech Republic hold off pesky Latvia
Czech Republic 4, Latvia 2
SOCHI -- The Czech Republic knew it needed to make something happen Friday in order to get its campaign at the 2014 Sochi Olympics back on track.

Another slow start, like the one that led to a loss to Sweden in the opening game of Group C play Wednesday, could have been disastrous, especially against Latvia, a country spoiling to register its first significant Olympic victory.

Fortunately the Czechs still have Jaromir Jagr on their team. Jagr set the tone for the afternoon by scoring a huge goal in the last minute of the first period to spark a 4-2 victory.

"We didn't play very well in the first half of the game against Sweden (a 4-2 loss) but we played better in the second half of this game, so we have to wait for [Saturday against Switzerland] to see what kind of team we really are," Jagr said.

If the Czechs continue to get offensive performances from Jagr like the ones they have received in the first two games of this tournament, they will be a dangerous out.

Jagr turned a taut first period in favor of the Czechs with a sublime effort. The wing took a pass in the slot from defenseman Marek Zidlicky, his teammate with the New Jersey Devils, and kicked the pass from his skate to his stick. Jagr held the puck momentarily, then snapped his wrists and picked the far corner cleanly to give his team a 2-1 lead.

"That was unstoppable," said Czech forward Jakub Voracek, who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period. "The way he hits it, low-blocker … it's very hard for goalies to stop it. He knows how to score goals."

Jagr, who turns 42 Saturday, has a goal in each of his first two games in this tournament.

His contribution Friday left Latvia coach Ted Nolan in awe.

"He's like a fine wine, he just keeps getting better with age," said Nolan, the interim coach of the Buffalo Sabres. "As I told someone before, he is almost like a ballerina on ice; he's so smooth and slick. He's a world-class player. [Friday] he proved how good he is again."

The Czechs got off on the right foot when Martin Erat scored a surprising goal from the high circles. Erat beat Latvia goalie Edgars Masalskis through the five-hole despite the lack of traffic or other mitigating circumstances. Masalskis, so dominating in a 1-0 loss to Switzerland on Wednesday, had made several five-bell saves to that point.

"We said we have to be more active and dictate the tempo of the game," Czech Republic forward Ales Hemsky said. "Like in the first game, they were dictating the tempo in the first period and we didn't have too much. That was the difference [Friday]."

But it still was interesting as the Latvians answered the Erat goal and the Jagr goal in short order.

Janis Sprukts scored Latvia's first goal of the tournament with a one-timer past Ondrej Pavelec that went in and out so fast that almost no one, including the referees, realized it hit a camera inside the net. Even Spurkts thought Pavelec made the save. Play continued for almost 45 seconds before the next whistle. At that point the play was reviewed and the goal awarded.

Pavelec, the Winnipeg Jets' starting goaltender, was scratched for the loss to Sweden. Jakub Kovar started Wednesday and allowed three goals on 10 shots before being lifted. Alexander Salak finished that game and backed up Pavelec on Friday. Pavelec finished with 18 saves and was tested on several occasions.

"It was a good start for me," Pavelec said. "It was a tough game. It's never an easy game against those guys. They play the way we expected and they were waiting for an opportunity to score goals. It wasn't easy but we scored the goals in the right times."

Herberts Vasiljevs tied the game early in the second period after a turnover. The deadlock lasted 4:21 thanks to a piece of brilliance by Voracek, who rose from a check in time to raise his stick, with one hand, to a position from which he was able to redirect a wrist shot from the point by Zbynek Michalek into the net for what proved to be the winning goal.

"Sometimes you need to get lucky," said Voracek, who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers. "I put my stick down and I was just lucky enough that it hit me. I was trying to tip that but you never know how lucky you get. I got lucky on that goal and it was a huge goal for us."

Zidlicky gave the Czechs some breathing room at 17:02, storming out of the corner to deposit a loose puck into the net. Martin Hanzal was checked into the Latvian goalie and pulled Masalskis off the post to provide the opening exploited by Zidlicky. The Latvians protested, claiming goalie interference, but the play stood after a video review.

Masalskis finished with 35 saves.

The Czechs finish pool play with a game against Switzerland on Saturday (Noon ET, NBCSN). The Latvians play Sweden (Noon ET, USA).


GAME SUMMARY

SCORING
CZE 2 2 0 - 4
LAT 1 1 0 - 2

First Period
1. CZE, Erat (Krejci, Hemsky) 10:10
2. LAT, Sprukts - PPG (Redlihs, Darzins) 13:05
3. CZE, Jagr - PPG (Zidlicky, Plekanec) 19:29
Penalties - Ozolinsh LAT (high sticking) 7:31, Hanzal CZE (tripping) 11:36,  Hanzal CZE (tripping) 13:05, Redlihs LAT (double minor high sticking) 18:36

Second Period
4. LAT, Vasiljevs (Pujacs) 2:45
5. CZE, Voracek (Michalek) 7:06
6. CZE, Zidlicky (Hanzal, Nedved) 17:02
Penalties - none

Third Period
No scoring
Penalties -  Ozolinsh LAT (tripping) 2:38, Cervenka CZE (hooking) 14:15, Zidlicky CZE (hooking) 15:18

SHOTS ON GOAL
CZE   16 15 8 - 39
LAT  8 8 4 - 20

Goaltenders (saves-shots against) - CZE: Pavelec (W, 18-20); LAT: Masalskis (L, 35-39)

Power plays (goals-chances) - CZE: 1-3; LAT: 0-4

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
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