Jagr, Czech Republic Advance to Semi-Finals
The Czech Republic squared off with the United States in the IIHF World Championships early on Thursday morning. After a high scoring affair, the Czechs found themselves on the positive end of the decision, earning them a spot in the semi-finals.
The first period was pretty straight forward, with each team tallying a goal a little under three minutes apart. There was a bit of foreshadowing halfway through the first period when United States forward Justin Abdelkader took a charging penalty — nothing came of it then, but he would change the entire game in the next period.
Abdelkader was again on the wrong side of a penalty call in the second, but this time it ended his hockey day. He was penalized with a five minute major and a game misconduct for charging Vladimir Sobotka. From there on, the Czechs took off on a spirited run — Tomas Hertl and Roman Cervenka both tallied on the power play to make it 3-1 Czechs. The United States would take another penalty with about six minutes left in the period, and Jaromir Jagr would register his eighth point of the tournament on an assist of what would turn out to be the winning goal scored by Ondrej Nemec.
After pulling the goalie, the United States would fight back in the third period to score twice, but it ended up being too little, too late. Jagr— perhaps the hottest player in world hockey at the moment—and his Czech team are headed on to the semi-finals, taking on Finland on Sunday.
As for Pete DeBoer’s Canadian side, they also fell like their North American counterparts. Canada lost to Finland 3-2, making this the fifth consecutive year that the Canadians dropped out of the World Championships in the quarter-final round.