Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival will be playing for a medal at the 2010 IIHF World Championship tournament this weekend.
Rozsival and his Czech Republic teammates advanced to the semifinals on Thursday afternoon, beating Sweden 2-1 in an overtime shootout at Cologne, Germany.
|Czech forward Jan Marek celebrates his shootout-winning goal on Thursday. Marek was drafted by the Rangers in 2003, but never came over to North America. His rights were sent to Los Angeles in the deal that brought Sean Avery to the Blueshirts. |
Former Rangers draft pick Jan Marek, a KHL star with Magnitogorsk, scored the deciding goal in the shootout, ending a goaltending duel between the Czechs' Tomas Vokoun of the Florida Panthers and Finland's Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators.
Vokoun, who was only beaten in the shootout by former Ranger Jarkko Immonen, finished the game with 29 saves. Rinne, beaten in the shootout by Lukas Kaspar and Marek, had 33 saves.
With their victory, the Czechs will have two shots at a medal. Even if they fail to advance to the gold medal game in their semifinal on Friday, they would still play for bronze on Sunday.
Rozsival skated on the Czechs' top defense pairing with Tomas Mojzis, a Swedish league player who spent several years in the AHL and also played in the NHL with Vancouver, St. Louis and Minnesota. Rozsival once again led all Czechs in ice time with a whopping 26:29.
No Czech player came within three minutes of Rozsival's ice time, which included two shots on goal. He was also on the ice when Jakub Klepis scored his team's lone goal on an early third-period power play.
Rozsival skated 7:24 in the first period, 8:09 in the second, 8:05 in the third and 2:51 of the overtime.
Finland got on the board first when Petri Kontiola scored just 55 seconds into the game of assists from Janne Niskala and Petteri Nummelin.
After a scoreless second period, the Czechs wasted little time tying the game in the third, when Klepis scored off an assist from Miroslav Blatak only 47 seconds after Jokinen was called for interference shortly after the opening faceoff.
In other quarterfinals on Thursday, Rangers forward Artem Anisimov
and the unbeaten Russians routed Canada 5-2, Sweden defeated Denmark 4-2, and host nation Germany upset the Swiss 1-0.
Saturday's semifinals will pit Russia against Germany and Sweden against the Czech Republic with the winners playing for gold on Sunday.