In the semifinals of the IIHF Hockey World Championship, Zdeno Chara and the Slovakian team have earned the chance to win the gold, while David Krejci and the Czech Republic team may be able to repeat their bronze medal win from last year.
The two neighboring countries faced each other in the second semifinal game of the day, which Slovakia won 3-1. Miroslav Satan, former Bruin, scored two of Slovakia’s goals and scored first, near the end of the first period. The Czechs, though, had an answer for that goal that came from Michael Frolik in a hard-fought second period as the game heated up intensely. Three different players left the ice with injuries: Martin Erat, Tomas Starosta and Frolik.
While shorthanded at the beginning of the third period from a carryover penalty, Satan struck again, breaking the tie. Four minutes later, Libor Hudacek added another goal to secure Slovakia’s lead and chase Jakub Kovar from the Czech net in favor of Jakub Stepanek. The Czechs could not overcome this deficit and Slovakia got the win.
In this game, Krejci won 75 percent of his faceoffs and took one shot on goal per period. Chara came out with a +2 and spent a team-leading 26 minutes on the ice.
Tomorrow, the Czech Republic will take on Finland for the chance to win bronze again or go home with fourth place.
Speaking of Finland, Russia defeated them 6-2 in the other semifinal game, keeping the curse of the home ice going: no Worlds host country has won the gold since the old Soviet Union managed it in 1986. Now the Russian team, stacked with firepower from guys like Evgeni Malkin (who scored another hat trick in the game with Finland) and Alexander Ovechkin, will take on Slovakia for the gold or silver medal. Oh boy, a rematch of Ovechkin vs. Chara! I wonder if the Worlds announcers will be as obsessed with noting when the two are on ice together as the NBC announcers were.
My guide for NBC Sports Network on DirecTV says that they will show what is erroneously labeled Czech Republic-Sweden tonight at 9 p.m. (I presume they mean Czech-Slovakia?) and then the Russia-Slovakia game at 9 p.m. tomorrow night. However, I will report on the games before that time, just like today.
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