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Jagr inspires Czech win

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Three numbers stand out from Saturday's 4-2 Czech win over Latvia: 68, Jaromir Jagr's sweater number; 43, Jagr's age; 25, the age he looks like on ice.

Two other numbers: 18:11, Jagr's ice time; and, 6, the number of shots he took, most of which were good chances.

With the goal Jagr is the oldest player to score a goal in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. The oldest to play in a World Championship was Belgian Fernand Carez, who was 43 years and 114 days old in 1949.

The Czechs rallied to score three goals in the second period. As well, they scored three goals on the power play, one by Jagr. Jan Kovar also had a goal and two assists for the victors.

"Obviously the first win of the tournament is always huge," said Jakub Voracek. "It wasn’t an easy game. They were skating pretty hard for 25, 30 minutes. I think they ran out of gas a little bit in the second half."

"This was a very tough game for us," admitted Jan Hejda. "Playing against Latvia is like a must-win, but they have a very good team. They play together basically the whole season, these players. Obviously we are all happy to beat them."

Life doesn’t get easier for the Latvians. Their record is now 0-2, and they will play Sweden on Monday. The Czechs, now 1-1 in the tournament, also have tomorrow off before a much-anticipated showdown with Canada on Monday night.

Latvia came out and played a flawless first period of sorts. It won the period, 1-0, but that score was something of a misnomer. The Czechs had the overwhelming margin of play and were by far the better team, but the Latvians played smart defence and did so without taking a penalty.

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