Defending champions Eaton Pardubice lost 3:2 to Vítkovice in penalty shootouts on Sunday, and were knocked out of the hockey league playoffs’ semifinals. The hosts Vítkovice was leading 2:0 until the third period when Padubice equalized with two goals just one minute apart. The match went into overtime but no team scored; in the shootout, Vítkovice’s Jiří Burger was the only player to convert his penalty, ensuring his team’s 4:1 win in the whole best-of-seven series. In the other semifinal, Slavia Prague is leading 3:1 over regular season winners, Třinec.
Slavia Prague beat regular season winners Třinec 4:0 on Saturday, and are leading 3:1 in the best-of-seven semifinal series of the playoffs. Třinec was unable to score against Slavia’s excellent defence; in the 50th minute, Třinec managed to get the puck in but the goal was disallowed since the frame of the goal was displaced. In the other series, Vítkovice are leading 3:1 against defending champions Pardubice; the series’ fifth game is scheduled for Sunday.
Czech start forward Jaromír Jágr confirmed on Wednesday he would join the national team at the upcoming world championships in Slovakia. Jágr’s club, Avantgard Omsk, has been knocked out of the playoffs in the KHL. The 39-year-old Jágr has not missed the last three big international events including the 2009 world championships in Germany where the Czechs team won gold. The event in Slovakia kicks off at the end of April.
In Sports News: The Extraliga hockey semi-finals get underway between Vítkovice and Pardubice; in football, Plzeň and Sparta come away with wins, leaving the top of the table unchanged; the Czech national squad readies for a key match against Spain in Euro qualifying; and Abraham finishes 13th in his MotoGP debut.
Defenceman Jan Hejda was the only Czech player to score in an
action-packed NHL on Saturday night, getting one goal against Minnesota
Columbus. The 32-year-old scored his fifth goal of the season from the
right faceoff circle. Minnesota won the game 5:4 in overtime.
In other hockey news, 46-year-old legendary Czech goalie Dominik Hašek took part in a charity event for young hockey players in the NHL, dropping the puck for a ceremonial faceoff in the Sabres-Thrashers game. The Sabres romped over Atlanta 8:2, seeing Czech goalie Ondřej Pavelec chased from the net after allowing three goals in the first period.
In the National Hockey League, Washington Capitals’ goalie Michal Neuvirth blanked the New Jersey Devils on Friday to earn his 4th shutout of the season. The goaltender stopped 33 shots to backstop the Capitals to a 3:0 win. The Capitals are in a comfortable second-place in the Eastern Conference. In other action, Czech forward Radim Vrbata racked up one goal and one assist for Phoenix in the team’s 3:1 win over Vancouver.
Defending champions Eaton Pardubice knocked out Zlín in the playoff quarterfinals after they won 6:2 on Tuesday, scoring their fourth victory in the best-of -seven series, and their 16th consecutive win. The game was tied until the end of the second period when the hosts went ahead 4:2. With four minutes left of the match, Zlín played with an empty net but Pardubice added two more goals to knock out Zlín which ranked fourth after the regular season. Pardubice are the first club to advance to the semis; in the other quarterfinal games, Vítkovíce lead 2:1 over České Budějovice, regular season winners Třinec are tied with Litvínov and Slavia Prague with Liberec.
In Sports News this week: the Czech Republic goes down in defeat at the tennis Davis Cup; Czechs bring home two golds, a silver and a bronze from the European indoor championships; in hockey, the season’s playoff-offs quarterfinals continue; and in football, Sparta narrow the gap behind league leaders Plzeň.
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