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Czechs hold off Latvia at Worlds

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival and his Czech Republic teammates got back on a winning track Monday at the IIHF World Championship tournament, beating Latvia 3-1 on the strength of two shorthanded goals by KHL star Tomas Rolinek.

Michal Rozsival
Rolinek, who plays for Magnitogorsk, scored both of his goals to break open the game in the second period. The Czechs, who had lost their previous outing to Switzerland, are now 2-2 in games against qualification-round opponents.

Rozsival saw 19:31 of ice time to lead the Czechs in that category. He played over seven minutes in both the first and third periods, finishing the game with two first-period shots on goal, including one from the right point in the final 30 seconds that required a tough save by Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis.

The Czech Republic outshot Latvia 32-26 and got 25 saves from Florida Panthers netminder Tomas Vokoun, who lost his shutout bid with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.

The Czech Republic broke a scoreless tie with the first of Rolinek's two shorthanded goals at 2:21 of the second period. Rolinek capped off a 2-on-1 breakout with Petr Koukal, but collided with both goalie Masalskis and the right post after finishing off the 2-on-1 for the game's first goal. He left the game briefly but returned in time for another goal.

Rolinek's first goal was scored 39 seconds after the Czechs were called for having too many men on the ice. The Czechs made it 2-0 with another shorthanded goal by Rolinek with Rozsival off for holding. The speedy, 5-foot-9 Rolinek cashed in on a Latvian turnover near the Czech blue line when he skated down the ice and rifled home a shot from the left circle at 17:51. Koukal again assisted on Rolinek's goal.

Latvia cut the lead to 2-1 when Sergejs Pecura scored at 12:05 of the third period, but the Czechs reponded almost immediately, with Roman Cervenka scoring from the right faceoff dot on a pretty give-and-go with Jiri Novotny at 12:51

In other games on Monday, Finland beat Slovakia 5-2, Belarus scored a late third-period goal to beat Denmark 2-1, and Norway toppled previously undefeated Switzerland 3-2. Olympic sensation Mats Zuccarello Aasen scored the eventual game-winner for Norway at 18:39 of the first period and led the Norwegians with four shots on goal.
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