Martin Prochazka scored 18 seconds into the game Tuesday en route to an easy 4-1 victory for the Czech Republic over Slovakia at the 2014 world junior championship in Malmo, Sweden.
The round-robin contest was never in doubt, with the Czechs leading 4-0 until the dying moments of the second period, when Milan Kolena scored the only goal for the Slovaks.
“I think they had the better motivation because we didn’t have to win,” Slovak forward Martin Reway, a Montreal Canadiens prospect, told WorldJunior2014.com. “We didn’t work as hard as we should have, and they got a quick goal.”
Czech goalie Marek Langhammer made 31 stops for the win. Slovakia’s starter, Samuel Baros, was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots.
The Czechs, at 1-1-0-2, finish the round-robin as Group A’s third seed. They play Finland in a quarterfinal game Thursday.
The 1-0-0-3 Slovaks end up fourth in Group A. They have drawn powerhouse Sweden Thursday.
SWEDEN 3, RUSSIA 2
Heading into the medal round, host Sweden is the lone nation without a loss after the pre-tournament favourites defeated Russia 3-2.
Montreal Canadiens draft pick Jacob de la Rose tipped a Gustav Olofsson point shot with 2:22 left in regulation to boost the Swedes to their fourth victory of the tournament.
Russia had battled back from a two-goal deficit but couldn’t muster the winner.
“It feels really amazing right now,” de la Rose told WorldJunior2014.com after the game. “It was a great goal for us and we really needed it.”
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson and Anaheim Ducks pick Nick Sorensen also scored for Sweden, while the Russian duo of Mikhail Grigorenko and Alexander Barabanov pitched in with a goal apiece for the losing side.
Sweden, the top seed from Group B, will now face Slovakia in a quarterfinal Thursday.
Group B’s third seed, Russia, is set to battle the United States after going 2-0-0-2 in the round-robin.
SWITZERLAND 4, FINLAND 3 (SO)
Finland got what it needed Tuesday — a point to secure second place in Group B at the 2014 world junior championship. But, they didn’t win the game, falling to Switzerland in a shootout in Malmo, Sweden.
The 12th shooter of the sudden death shootout, Swiss defenceman Claude Paschoud, notched the winner.
The Finns fell behind 3-1 and never recovered.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted, but we got one point and second place in the group,” Finn Ville Pokka, a New York Islanders prospect, told WorldJunior2014.com following the loss. “We have to keep looking forward to the quarterfinals.”
In the quarterfinals Thursday, the Finns (2-0-1-1) will meet the Czech Republic, while Switzlerand (1-1-0-2) and Canada tango.