Slovakia, Czech Republic Go to Semifinals of Hockey World Championship

By Emma Harger

After a flurry of four games played one after the other on the same day, the scores have been settled at the IIHF Hockey World Championship and the semifinal matchups are set. The two Boston Bruins, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci, are both on teams that will move to the next round of the tournament.

Slovakia started the day off by pulling off a big upset and defeating Canada 4-3. The Slovakian team built up a 2-0 lead early in the first period on goals by Tomas Kopecky and Miroslav Satan. Evander Kane put Canada on the board before the first period ended, starting a bounce-back that erased Slovakia’s lead. In the second period, Jeff Skinner scored a power play goal to tie the game at two and the tie held–until Alexandre Burrows untied it and actually put Canada ahead for a time. Milan Bartovich re-tied it in the third period. Then Ryan Getzlaf was given a game misconduct for kneeing Juraj Milus. Milus had to be helped off the ice and seemed to be in pain: he couldn’t get to his feet in the hallway past the tunnel. Just seconds after Slovakia began the power play that resulted, Michal Handzus scored–with three minutes left in the third period. Canada couldn’t answer this time and Slovakia earned the first semifinal berth. In this game, Chara was credited with two shots on goal and spent the most time on ice among his team.

The Czech Republic, playing Sweden, had a game much like Slovakia’s: it even ended with the same score, though it started with Sweden’s Loui Eriksson scoring. Czech players bounced back and, a few minutes later, Petr Nedved scored and Jiri Novotny extended the lead before intermission. Martin Erat beefed up the lead even more with an assist by Krejci. The Czechs couldn’t hold this lead, though, and the Swedes started bouncing back little by little. Henrik Zetterberg scored with 45 seconds left in the second; Jonathan Ericsson scored with 45 seconds gone in the third. Just as it looked like this one was going to overtime, though, Milan Michalek scored with about 30 seconds to go in regulation.

Another game that ended in a last-minute goal was USA versus Finland, the home team knocking America out by breaking a 2-2 tie with mere seconds left to play.

The only game that wasn’t a total last-minute nail-biter? Russia’s 5-2 defeat of Norway.

So, now Slovakia and the Czech Republic will face off in the semifinals. Bruin vs. Bruin: the commentators will have a field day with that.  The Czechs got bronze last year, but for Slovakia, it’s been a little longer since they got any hardware at all–last time was 2002, when they took the gold.

Both semifinal games will be on May 19. The winners of those games will go on to challenge for the gold and silver medal while the losers look for bronze and fourth place.

 Read more articles from Emma Harger here.

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