The Czech men's hockey team was soundly defeated on Wednesday by a US squad that has continued to shine at the Winter Olympics. A day after the Czechs knocked Slovakia from the tournament, they appeared lackluster and were out-skated and outplayed by their American opponents. Goalie Ondřej Pavelec was chased from the net in the second period when the US scored their fourth goal to make it 4-1. The Czech starting goalie was replaced by Salak. The game finished 5-2. The US team faces Canada in the semi-final.
The Czech national hockey team faced Slovakia in a key contest at the Winter Games on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals. Neither team had played convincingly in the group stage but the Czech squad turned things around: jumping to a three goal lead in the first period that knocked the wind out of their Slovak opponents.
Switzerland beat the Czech Republic 1-0 Saturday night in the teams' final preliminary-round game. Simon Bodenmann scored in the first period and despite playing a fast, aggressive game the Czechs were unable to get past the Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller who made 26 saves. The Czech Republic went 1-2-0-0 in the preliminary round to finish in third place in Group C, ahead of only winless Latvia.
Czech hockey star Jaromir Jágr celebrated his 42nd birthday at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Saturday ahead of a group C game with Switzerland. His team mates sang a Czech rendition of Happy Birthday, gave him a hearty round of applause and handed over a giant chocolate cake made for the occasion by German chefs at the Sochi Olympics.
The Czech Republic defeated Latvia 4-2 in the men's ice hockey tournament at the Sochi Games on Friday, restoring their hopes of earning top spot in their group ahead of the quarter-finals. Jaromír Jágr and Marek Židlický both scored for the second straight game and fellow NHL players Jakub Voráček and Martin Erat also contributed a goal apiece. Ondřěj Pavelec posted 18 saves to help the Czechs improve to 1-1 in Group C play. Both teams conclude Group C play on Saturday with the Czechs facing Switzerland and Latvia playing Sweden.
The Czech campaign in the Olympic men’s ice hockey opening group starts Wednesday evening with a tough match against Sweden. Sweden are on paper the strongest team the Czechs will face in a group that also includes Switzerland and Latvia. The Czechs have only won three out of their last 11 major competition confrontations against the Swedes. Czech coach Alois Hadamczik has refused to divulge his selection ahead of the match. In spite of that, Jakub Kovár is widely tipped to be the first choice goalie for the encounter.
In the next couple of weeks, sports fans around the Czech Republic will be glued to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where competitors like speed skater Martina Sáblíková and the national ice hockey team will be going for gold. In Turin in 2006 the Czechs took four medals, while in Vancouver four years ago they picked up an impressive six. So does the Czech team have a medals target this time out? That was one of several questions I put to Jiří Kejval, the chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee.
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