International Ice Hockey Federation

Pastrnak ices 4-3 win for Czechs

Pastrnak ices 4-3 win for Czechs

Denmark loses another heartbreaker in OT

Published 29.12.2014 20:16 GMT-5 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Pastrnak ices 4-3 win for Czechs
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 29: The Czech Republic's David Kase #23 with a scoring chance against Denmark's Georg Sorensen #39 during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
An ill-advised pinch. A great pass. A beautiful deke by David Pastrnak at 1:01 of overtime gave the Czechs a thrilling 4-3 OT win over Denmark.

Pastrnak took a great stretch pass from Jan Stencel and made an equally great deke to complete a much-needed comeback.

"I moved with him the same way when he moved," Danish goalie Georg Sorensen said of the winning play, "but he went to the other side, so there was nothing I could do."

"It was a great pass, but the ice was bad and it bounced," Stencel recalled. "It was a lucky bounce for me, but I think we deserved the luck. We played a good game all the way."

Looking for their first ever win in the top level of the U20, Denmark was leading 3-2 late in the game. But an icing call proved to be their downfall. Coach Olaf Eller called a timeout to rest the forwards--Mikkel Aagaard, Nick Olesen, and Mathais Asperup--but they were hardly fresh when they went back out for the faceoff deep in their end.

"We could see they were tired, and we focused on winning the faceoff and keeping the pressure on them," Stencel noted.

Their strategy worked. Dominik Kubalik swatted a rebound into the net off a Stencel point shot that Sorensen had kicked out, tying the game with just 3:02 remaining and deflating a Danish team that had suffered a tough 3-2 loss to Russia in a shootout to open the tournament.

It was a game the Danes could have won and maybe even should have won, in part because they had that late lead, in part because Sorensen was sensational. The Czechs outshot Denmark, 48-14, but time and again Sorensen held his team in the game.

Denmark lost the only two previous U20 meetings against the Czechs, 5-2 and 7-0.

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Although the Danes got off to a sluggish start, they opened the scoring on their first decent shot on goal. Mads Eller wired a shot from the left wing that beat Vitek Vanecek to the far side over his glove at 3:58 for a 1-0 lead.

Moments later, Ehlers had a breakaway after eluding Dominik Masin at the blue line, but he couldn’t convert the great chance. Such is the fragility of the Danish offence that it needs every goal it can get from its big line of Ehlers, Eller, and Oliver Bjorkstrand.

That miss proved costly as the Czechs capitalized on their first power-play opportunity midway through the period. Jan Stencel’s quick wrist shot from the point found its way through a number of bodies and past Georg Sorensen to tie the game.

In fact, the Danes incurred three straight penalties in the second half of the period, taking away their momentum and rhythm.

Early in the second the Czechs took their first lead on a harmless-looking play. Defenceman Jan Kostalek shot a rolling puck on goal that just squeaked in the short side at 4:36. Much of the period was without incident, but the Danes managed to tie the game later on a power play.

With Jan Mandat off for boarding, the top line of Denmark went to work. Ehlers fired a nice pass across the ice to Bjorkstrand, and his one-timer hit the back of the net before Vanecek could get over to the far post.

The second period ended in a 2-2 tie despite the Czechs outshooting the Danes 29-8.

Ehlers made a great play to set up Asperup for the go-ahead goal at 6:05 of the third, skating along the width of the ice and drawing all the attention to him before sweeping a pass to a wide open Asperup to the back side of the play. 


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