The ROC already has the top spot clinched in Group B. However, in the game against the Czech Republic, it was important to find their offense. They achieved that goal, scoring five goals in regulation. However, the Czech Republic’s power play was too good, giving the Czechs a 6-5 victory in overtime.
Entering the game, the Russian Olympic Committee had only scored three goals, one of which was an empty netter, in the previous two games combined. This time around, they found the net relatively early in the first period off a set play. Vladimir Tkachyov fired from the face off circle past Simon Hrubec to give ROC the 1-0 lead.
Tomas Kundratek tied the game eight minutes later on a power play for the Czech Republic. He was set up by a nice screen in front of Ivan Fedotov who never saw the puck. It was the Czechs' first power play goal of the tournament.
Play started at 4-on-4 in the second period, but nothing would come of it for either side. ROC’s best chance came eight minutes into the period, but Hrubec was a brick wall denying Mikhail Grigorenko and any rebound attempt in front of the net.
Halfway through the period, Jiri Smejkal was called for hooking, giving ROC another power-play opportunity. Vladimir Sobotka would get called for hooking with almost a minute remaining on the initial power play, giving ROC a two-man advantage for nearly a full minute. Hrubec had an outstanding point-blank save on Sergei Plotinkuv in the slot on the 5-on-3. One of his best of the game. The Czechs held strong during the two-man deficit, but ROC was relentless, as Nikita Nesterov scored during the remainder of the power play, with a one-timer from near the blue line. It ended ROC’s 0-10 power-play streak.
Just before the end of the second period, Dmitry Voronkov, who was having a great physical game, delivered a head-to-head hit. In international play, it’s an automatic match penalty and subsequently ended Voronkov’s day. It proved to be a game-changing penalty. David Krejci took advantage of the five-minute power play. Roman Cervenka connected with Krejci on a well-timed seam pass to even the game at 2-2. Just under a minute later, Michael Spacek fired a slap shot from the face off circle, giving the Czechs their first lead of the game heading into the final break.
Shortly after the 5-minute major expired, the Czechs would keep the momentum during 5-on-5 play. Lukas Klock laced a perfectly placed shot through traffic to find the back of the net, giving the Czechs a 4-2 advantage.
However, the ROC wouldn’t go away easily. Just 36 seconds later, Kirill Semyonov was in front of the net and corralled a rebound to bring the Russians back within a goal. Three minutes later, Arseny Gritsyuk delivered a crucial game-tying goal in the third period.
A minute later, ROC’s Andrei Chibisov would again give ROC the advantage with 12 minutes remaining in the period. However, 35 seconds later, the Czech Republic answered on a goal Fedotov would like to have back. Tomas Hyka tied the game at 5-5 from a sharp angle that Fedotov should have been able to stop.
The two teams remained scoreless for the remainder of the period and would head into sudden death overtime. As a reminder, overtime in group play is played at 3-on-3 for five minutes, before moving on to a shootout if necessary.
Halfway through overtime, Alexander Nikishin was called for slashing. The Czech power play had already scored three times in the game. Fourth time would be the charm, though, as Libor Sulak ended the tie on a snapshot from in front of the net for a huge win and confidence boost for the Czech Republic in a win over the ROC.
Click here to view all the stats from Czech Republic’s win over the ROC, and click here to watch the full event replay from start to finish.