Five goals already in the first period, sharp interventions on both sides. This brought the derby of the former federal partners of the Czech Republic and Slovakia at the start of the hockey world championship in Riga. The Czechs won 3:2 and the Slovaks, despite the unpleasant draw of the tournament, regretted that they did not get more out of the promising match.
On Saturday, the Slovak ice hockey players will meet Latvia, which can be considered a very tough opponent. Group favorites Canada and Switzerland are next in line.
Therefore, the profit from the match against the Czech Republic would be very useful for the Slovaks in the game for the quarter-finals. “We deserved the point, we were more than a balanced opponent,” said forward Oliver Okuliar after the narrow defeat.
“Unlucky match. We were better in the first period, we created more shots and chances. It’s a shame, the moment when we scored a goal in our power play was decisive. From the second period, the Czechs already took the initiative,” said Andrej Podkonický, assistant coach on the Slovakian substitute team.
The Slovaks led twice in the opening act, but when they could have increased the lead in their second power play, Lukáš Sedlák equalized after circling the goal. The same player then scored with a five-minute numerical advantage after the dismissal of Mislav Rosandič, and the goal turned out to be the winner in the end.
Rosandič was sent to the locker room early by the referee after a knee foul against Jiří Černoch. The Czech striker writhed in pain on the ice, he too headed into the bowels of the stadium, but eventually finished the rest of the match.
“Rosandič out! The intention, clearly, to suspend. He knew he couldn’t keep up, and he handled it stupidly,” tweeted former Czech national team member Michal Mikeska. On the other hand, the experts in the studio of the Slovak television station RTVS Šport did not like the exclusion of the Croatian native at all.
“It wasn’t a foul for five minutes plus until the end of the game. We lost one of our best defenders,” Marián Gáborík shook his head.
His colleague and another former Slovak hockey player Boris Valábik explained after the end of the match why the Czech Vladimír Sobotka should have been punished in this way in the second period, and not Rosandič before him.
“Rosandič did not intentionally go against Černoch’s knee, but pulled his leg towards him. The aggravating circumstance was that Černoch left the ice. It affected the rest of the match, we lost momentum,” described Valábik.
Sobotk’s intervention against Richard Pánik before the half of the duel was assessed as irritation, i.e. a minor penalty in two minutes.
According to the Slovak TV expert, it was a knee foul. “It wasn’t even close to tripping. Sobotka didn’t want to play the puck, he went against Pánik. This was for a higher penalty,” continued Valábik.
Gáborík also confirmed his truth: “Hats off to the kind of hockey player Sobotka is, but he is often on edge.”
What the former NHL players and Slovak representatives did not agree on in the studio was the assessment of Patrik Koch’s hit on Filip Chlapík in the thirteenth minute of the derby. The guy played a roll from the defensive zone, after which he collected a hard blow to the head from a burly fullback.
“That was a foul, it was a trip to the head and half an elbow save. I hope there is no additional suspension, it would be whistled in the NHL,” noted Gáborík, adding that the Slovaks were lucky because the referees did not exclude Koch. They only punished Michal Kempný, who stood up for Chlapík.
“It wouldn’t be whistled for me in the NHL,” countered Valábik.
The pilgrimage of Slovaks continues already on Saturday evening against Latvia, which could be a key battle for the quarter-finals in the final calculations. The Czechs will face Kazakhstan after a day off on Sunday.
Leave a Reply