TURIN, Italy (AP) - Vaclav Prospal scored three goals as the Czech Republic beat Italy 4-1 Sunday to grab a spot in the men's hockey Olympic medal round.
The Czechs welcomed back Jaromir Jagr, the New York Rangers star who leads the NHL in scoring. He played with nine stitches in his forehead and above his left ear after being cut by a vicious check into the boards by Finland's Jarkko Ruutu on Saturday.
Marek Zidlicky crashed into a goalpost and his right knee appeared to take the brunt of the collision after backchecking an Italian forward midway through the first period. The Nashville Predators defenseman grimaced as he went to the bench, but returned later in the period for the Czechs.
Colorado Avalanche forward Milan Hejduk scored midway through the first period, Prospal, of the Tampa Bay Lightning, had his first goals 1:23 later and scored in the second period. Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun made 15 saves for the Czechs (2-2), who had lost two straight.
After Italy's John Parco scored with 2:07 left in the game, Prospal scored an empty-net goal to notch the hat trick.
Gunther Hell and Jason Muzzatti combined to stop 40 shots for the Italians (0-3-1), who will not advance to the quarterfinals. Italy's loss guaranteed Canada a spot in the medal round before it finished playing Finland.
Things got chippy on two occasions in the game. The teams came close to fighting after some pushing and shoving in the second period. With 36 seconds left in the game, players had to be separated again.