Canada (5) – Czech Republic (1)
::: What should have been a close game between two good hockey countries, turned into a laugher early as Canada trounced the Czech Republic 5-1 Thursday in Kloten in Group F play.
The Czechs couldn’t stay out of the box in the opening 20 minutes and it cost them as Canada connected on three power play opportunities. At the forefront of those goals was Tampa rookie phenom Steve Stamkos.
With Montreal’s Tomas Plekanec in the box for slashing, Stamkos connected on his fourth of the tournament 7:20 into the contest. Then with Jaromir Jagr sitting for hooking, Stamkos took the feed from Shane Doan on a turnover in the Canadian offensive zone and beat Jakub Stepanek with another power play goal at the 13:40 mark. Finishing off the power play hat trick, Shea Weber blasted it by Stepanek from the point with 2:55 remaining in the period which pushed Canada’s lead to three.
That goal chased the Czech goalie and Martin Prusek came in.
With the score out of hand after only one period of play, the penalties started coming as player after player was escorted to the box in the second. But despite two power play attempts for the Czechs and three for the Canadians, no one was able to score as Prusek and Canadian starter Chris Mason (St. Louis) stood tall between the pipes.
After the scoreless second, Canada potted their fourth of the game when Dany Heatley scored unassisted just 22 seconds into the period. Then Stamkos set up Lightning teammate Martin St. Louis 9:55, upping the score to 5-0.
The Czech Republic finally got on the board with less than three minutes remaining in the contest as Jagr sent Ales Hemsky (Edmonton) on the mini-breakaway with an alley-op pass. It was a little too late.
The Czechs have one win and two regulation losses (3 points) in Group F play and next face Slovakia on Saturday.
Rostislav Olesz finished with two shots on goal on 9:35 of ice time.
*****Latvia 2 - Switzerland 1 (SO)
::: It was a defensive struggle between Latvia and Switzerland as the two teams were fighting for position in Group E play Thursday.
The two teams combined for just one goal through the first forty minutes of play and that came thanks to the man advantage.
Martins Cipulis scored the game’s first goal 15:30 into the game and 25 seconds after Yannick Weber (Montreal) was whistled for cross-checking.
Latvia almost pulled off the victory despite being outshot 39-22. It would take nearly the entire game for Switzerland to get on the board and knot the score but they did it.
The goal, if to anyone’s surprise came on the power play. Latvia’s Kristaps Sotnieks was whistled for interference with three minutes left in regulation. Then the Swiss went on the two-man advantage as they pulled Martin Gerber (Toronto) with 2:11 left in the contest. That move paid off as they Andres Ambuhl scored 20 seconds later, with 1:31 left, beating Edgars Masalskis.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime, the squads went to the shootout. Being what seems to be pros at the one-on-one competition, Latvia’s Aleksandrs Nizivijs netted the game-winner, giving them their second shootout victory of the tournament.
Latvia now has two shootout wins and a loss (4 points) in Group E play. They will next play Saturday against France.
Karlis Skrastins finished with a shot on net on a team high 23:23 of ice time while Janis Sprukts had two shots on goal with 21:24 of ice time.
United States (4) vs Latvia (2) - Saturday April 25
United States (6) vs Austria (1) - Monday April 27
United States (5) vs Sweden (6) (SO) - Wednesday April 29
United States vs France - Friday May 1
United States vs Russia - Saturday May 2
United States vs Switzerland - Monday May 4
Keith Ballard - 3 GP - 1 Assist - 4 Shots - 28:12 Total Ice Time - 0 +/- Rating
Czech Republic (5) vs Norway (0) - Saturday April 25
Czech Republic (5) vs Denmark (2) - Monday Apirl 27
Czech Republic vs Finland - Wednesday April 29
Czech Republic (1) vs Canada (5) - Thursday April 30
Czech Republic vs Slovakia - Saturday May 2
Czech Republic vs Belarus - Sunday May 3
Rostislav Olesz - 4 GP - 1 Assist - 2 Shots - 32:25 Total Ice Time - 1 +/- Rating
Michael Frolik - 0 GP - Shots - Ice Time - +/- Rating
Latvia (2) vs United States (4) - Saturday April 25
Latvia (3) vs Sweden (2) (SO) - Monday April 27
Latvia vs Austria - Wednesday April 29
Latvia (2) vs Switzerland (1) (SO) - Thursday April 30
Latvia vs France - Saturday May 2
Latvia vs Russia - Sunday May 3
Karlis Skrastins (C) - 4 GP - 1 Assist - 1 Shot - 64:11 Total Ice Time - +1 +/- Rating
Janis Sprukts - 4 GP - 1 Assist - 4 Shots - 56:38 Total Ice Time - +1 +/- Rating