In Sports News: Hockey’s Vítkovice win a dramatic Game 4 to stay alive in the Extraliga hockey finals; in the NHL, goalie Vokoun blanks Washington; football’s Olomouc & Ústí continue downward slide; Petr Čech and Chelsea will have their work cut out for them in Champions League second-leg match against Manchester United.
Atlanta goalie Ondřej Pavelec kept the New Yorker Rangers off the scoreboard in their Thursday matchup, stopping 29 shots to earn his fourth shutout of the regular season. Atlanta are out of playoff contention but the win complicated the situation for the Rangers as the season wraps up: New York is in the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference and will need a win in the final game to qualify.
HC Oceláři Třinec beat HC Vítkovice Steel 5:2 on Monday night in the first game of the Czech hockey league play-off finals to take a lead in the best-of-seven series. Visitors Vítkovice did well in the game and withstood the initial pressure by the hosts, but Třinec’s power-plays were highly effective. In the 12th minute, Martin Růžička opened the scoring, breaking a 19-year-old record for the best scoring player in the playoffs. In the second period, Třinec added two more power-play goals two minutes apart. Vítkovice then narrowed the gap to 3:1 but did not find enough strength to turn the game around, allowing Třinec to score the first ever win the final series. The finals continue on Tuesday.
The hockey extraliga final begins on Monday with Třinec pitted against Vítkovice. Třinec, which was the best team during the regular season, defeated Slavia in the seventh game of the semifinal series, will host Vítkovice which finished third in the regular season and overcame reigning champions Pardubice in the semis. The best-of-seven final series will see a regional derby between two neighbouring clubs. Třinec, which is slightly favoured by bookmakers, has never won the title before, while Vítkovice won the top Czechoslovak division in 1953 and 1981.
In Sports News: Hockey club Třinec complete an electrifying comeback against Slavia to book a spot in the Extraliga finals; Czech goalie Vokoun confirms he will play for the national squad in the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia; football league leaders Plzeň widen their lead over second-place Sparta; and racer Abraham suffers spill in second MotoGP race but still manages to come in seventh.
Třinec beat Slavia Prague 5:3 on Wednesday night, tying the hockey playoffs’ best-of-seven semifinal series at 3:3. Slavia took an early lead when Pavel Kolařík hit the top corner of the goal in the second minute. Třinec soon came back and equalized but Slavia added another goal, winning the opening period 2:1. The visitors however scored three goals in the second which proved too much for the hosts. Regular season winners Třinec will face Slavia at home on Friday in the series’ seventh game. The winner will play Vítkovice in the league finals.
In hockey, regular season winners Třinec staved off elimination in their best-of-seven semi-final series against Slavia on Monday, winning convincingly by a score of 6:1. Forward Martin Růžička proved to be a key player in the match, scoring four goals in the game. The win cuts Slavia’s lead in the series to 3:2. The Prague team will have a second chance to close the door on Třinec on Wednesday evening or face a game 7. The winner of the series will meet Vítkovice in the final.
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.
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