The Czech’s got on the board first. After Florida Panthers defenseman Gudbranson pinched in the neutral zone, Vladimir Sobotka was able to get the puck to Roman Cervenka who beat James Reimer with a shot he had little chance of saving. The goal marked the third straight game in which Canada allowed the first goal of the game, however it happened to be their first 5-on-5 goal allowed. Like in the game against Slovakia, Joel Ward would get his team back in the game with a snipe from the top of circle that left Jakub Kovar with no chance.
Some people criticized James Reimer for the loss against France on Friday. While it’s not fair due to the fact he kept the team in it despite all their defensive errors, he had to do the same in the first period thanks to his team getting outshot 15-4. His team would begin to help out at the other end of the ice in the second, scoring three goals thanks to a total collapse by the Czech’s. First, Matt Read dangled past a few Czech defenders, only to have the poked puck away to Kyle Turris who beat Kovar for the goal.
Things started to get worse for the Czech’s in the final five minutes. Canadian captain Kevin Bieksa would have to get stitched up on the bench after Jan Kovar was given a 5-minute major penalty and game misconduct for slashing him in the face. On the ensuing power-play, Nathan MacKinnon scored on one of the hardest slap shots from up close you’ll ever see to give his team the 3-1 lead. 17 seconds later, Morgan Rielly made it 4-1 despite only amassing a minute of ice time in the period thanks to a tremendous point shot.
With Kovar falling apart, Alex Salak was called upon to make a difference. Unfortunately, Salak would be given a penalty after punching Alex Burrows during a whistle and put his team down two men for an extra period of time. The goalie change would work out in their favour, however, as a killed off penalty gave the team the momentum they needed for the third. The Czechs would cut it to 4-2 with 7:49 left in the third period, only to bring it within one when they recorded a power-play goal less than a minute later. The comeback would be cut short for the Czech’s as any attempt fired towards James Reimer during the game would be turned away by the Leafs goaltender, who would keep his team’s victory in tact once the final buzzer went off.
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