MANNHEIM, Germany _ Canada is limping into the quarter-finals at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Jakub Klepis's second-period goal held up as the winner Tuesday as the desperate Czech Republic beat Canada 3-2 in a chippy, tension-filled game.
It was Canada's second straight loss to complete the round-robin portion of the event. The team showed a lot more fight than it had in a 3-1 loss to Sweden on Sunday, but ended up with the same disappointing result.
Frustration boiled over in the final seconds of the game as players from both teams got into a skirmish behind the Czech goal and threw a few punches.
The Canadians will be looking for answers as they pack up and move to Cologne, where they'll face either Russia or Finland in the quarter-finals on Thursday. A loss there would bring an abrupt end to what has been a frustrating tournament.
Lukas Kaspar and Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Czechs (4-2). Ray Whitney and Matt Duchene replied for Canada (3-3).
Prior to the tournament, Jagr scolded the Czech players who declined an invitation to the world championship and warned that the country might have trouble competing here. They were in danger of missing the quarter-finals for the first time ever, but booked a spot with the victory over Canada.
Even though the Canadian team won three times in its opening six games, none of those results come with much confidence because they were against teams that are now out of the tournament. Canada scored just four goals in its three losses and will need to start generating more offence.
Coach Craig MacTavish tried juggling his lines in the third period against the Czechs and wasn't rewarded until Duchene scored with 1:11 to play to make it 3-2. That was as close as they'd get.
Even the return of Steven Stamkos, who sat out two games with a head injury, didn't pay dividends.
Canadian goaltender Chris Mason was pulled during Sunday's loss to Sweden, but looked sharp early in this one. He got his left pad out to stop Jagr on a couple of chances in the opening minute.
He also earned an assist when Whitney opened the scoring at 6:59. The puck went from Mason to defenceman Mark Giordano to Whitney, who drove hard to the goal and beat Tomas Vokoun with a backhander.
It was the kind of start the Canadians had been aiming for after giving up the first goal in losses to Sweden and Switzerland. But it didn't last.
Kaspar evened the score before the end of the first period with a short-handed goal. Canada turned the puck over in the neutral zone and Kaspar was sent in alone, beating Mason with a backhand deke at 18:20.
The Canadians came out with purpose in the second period but were unable to get a puck past Vokoun. The Czech goalie stopped Marc Staal from the edge of the crease, stretched out to deny Mason Raymond and got in front of a couple good John Tavares chances.
The momentum slowly began to shift midway through the period and Jagr soon put the Czechs ahead 2-1. He went to the goal after a faceoff and tipped home a point shot from Ondrej Nemec at 12:19.
Klepis extended it to 3-1 at 18:18 by tipping home a nice Michal Rozsival pass, prompting the thousands of Czechs in attendance at SAP Arena to jump up and down while singing for the remainder of the period.