Czech Republic vs. Slovakia WJC game recap

By Robert Neuhauser
On the last day of the 20th century, December 31st, 2000, the Czech squad had to face the
last opponent in the round robin system of the Group A. The Slovakian squad isn’t playing
really well at the WJC this year, but they might have regained their confidence with a 7:0
win over Kazakhstan. The Czechs were already sure winners of the group and they didn’t need to
play on full speed. So the coaches had to warn the team not to take this game easy because
a loss would damage the confidence before the quarterfinal match. The Czechs are running
high this time with a perfect 3-0-0 record and the Slovakian team wasn’t supposed to be of
any trouble. But they can always surprise and have their leading duo in Portland Winterhawks
forwards and Montreal Canadiens draft picks Marcel Hossa and Jozef Balej, who play along with
Kingston Frontenacs’ Tomas Skvaridlo on the first line. Skvaridlo was drafted by the Pittsburgh
Penguins in 1999 and he plays very solid at the WJC. The defense has its star in Rene Vydareny,
a Vancouver Canucks prospect, who had trouble with his former Slovakian team and wasn’t
permitted to play for the Canucks till late December. Rumors say that with a good performance at the WJC
he should see some ice time with the Canucks already this season, but he is heading for the
Kansas City Blades most likely. Two players of this Slovakian squad could hear their names
called in June – defenseman Tomas Slovak of Kosice is the top Slovakian prospect and he’ll be
drafted sure and goalie Peter Budaj, a Toronto St.Michael’s Majors player, who may be a late

round pick.

But the Czechs have their ace in Pavel Brendl.
How good he can be he showed again in this game as he was dominating the ice. New York
Rangers scouts had to be total delighted with his performance. But let’s start from the
beginning.

Rostislav Klesla, the WJC top scoring defenseman, likes to be among the first in the scoresheet,
just like in this game. After a great play by Brendl he used his pass to fire a slap shot
which surprised Budaj and gave the Czechs a 1:0 lead. The Slovakian team looked shaky in this
game and damaged his performance with many fouls. They weren’t an offensive threat and the
Slovakian defensive corps didn’t have the best day, too. But in the first period the Czechs
weren’t able to score more than once and head coach Jaroslav Holik became angry. This
authoritative coach knows when to shout at the players to make them start playing real hockey
and this was obviously the case after the first period. He benched the fourth line and shuffled
the players on the third line to increase the tempo of the Czech game. This showed to be a
great idea when Vaclav Nedorost needed just 30 seconds of the second period to set the score
at 2:0. Again the goal was following a great play by Pavel Brendl, who deked the defensemen
and made a perfect pass to Nedorost, who chipped it in. That was it for the second period.
But in the third the Czechs turned on their offensive engine. And it was Pavel Brendl who has
beaten Peter Budaj after Vaclav Nedorost gave him the final pass. From then the Slovaks knew
that they’re going to lose this game and showed almost nothing but fouls. But the Czech side
wasn’t too gentle, too. Jakub Cutta received a 10-minute penalty and also other players weren’t
forced to make the fouls they did. So Pavel Brendl displayed his skills once again as he fed
Zdenek Blatny with a pass which ended in the net of Budaj. That was a stellar performance
of the first line. All three forwards scored a goal and Pavel Brendl added three assists to make it
4:0. Just 2 minutes later Marek Tomica scored his first goal at the WJC and 2001 prospect
Tomas Plekanec got his first point at the WJC, one that he deserved very much. That was enough
for the Slovaks. They fired only 3 shots at Tomas Duba in the third period and went away with
a 5:0 loss. Tomas Duba recorded his first shutout at the WJC and he surprises the hockey world
just like Zdenek Smid did last year. It’s true that he plays behind a great defense, but he
plays so well that he leads the goalies at the WJC in both save percentage and goals against
average statistics with .9437 and 1,00 respectively. That’s a goalie the Czechs need for the
following games!
Czech Republic - Slovakia 5:0 (1:0, 1:0, 3:0)

Scoring summary

First period - 4. Rostislav Klesla (Pavel Brendl)

Second period - 21. Vaclav Nedorost (Pavel Brendl)

Third period - 43. Pavel Brendl (Vaclav Nedorost)
               52. Zdenek Blatny (Pavel Brendl)
               54. Marek Tomica (Tomas Plekanec)

Powerplays - Czech Republic 1/12
             Slovakia 1/8

Individual player scoring
                      Goals  Assists  Points
Rostislav Klesla 1       0         1
Libor Ustrnul           0       0         0
Jakub Grof              0       0         0
Jan Choteborsky     0       0         0
David Nosek            0       0         0
Jakub Cutta             0       0         0
Pavel Brendl            1       3         4
Vaclav Nedorost    1       1         2
Zdenek Blatny         1       0         0
Radim Vrbata          0       0         0
Michal Sivek            0       0         0
Martin Erat             0       0         0
Ivan Rachunek          0       0         0
Tomas Plekanec    0       1         1
Marek Tomica         1       0         1
Ladislav Vlcek         0       0         0
Lukas Havel             0       0         0
Patrik Moskal           0       0         0
Tomas Duba           0       0         0

Team scoring leaders
                      Goals  Assists  Points
Pavel Brendl            2       5         7
Vaclav Nedorost    3       2         5
Zdenek Blatny          2       3         5
Rostislav Klesla     2       3         5
Martin Erat             2       1         3
Michal Sivek            2       1         3
Radim Vrbata         1       2         3
Jan Choteborsky     1       1         2
Lukas Havel             1       1         2
Marek Tomica         1       1         2
Ivan Rachunek         1       0         1
Ladislav Vlcek         1       0         1
Jakub Cutta             0       1         1
Jakub Grof              0       1         1
Tomas Plekanec     0       1         1
              Other players scoreless
On the last day of the 20th century, December 31st, 2000, the Czech squad had to face the
last opponent in the round robin system of the Group A. The Slovakian squad isn’t playing
really well at the WJC this year, but they might have regained their confidence with a 7:0
win over Kazakhstan. The Czechs were already sure winners of the group and they didn’t need to
play on full speed. So the coaches had to warn the team not to take this game easy because
a loss would damage the confidence before the quarterfinal match. The Czechs are running
high this time with a perfect 3-0-0 record and the Slovakian team wasn’t supposed to be of
any trouble. But they can always surprise and have their leading duo in Portland Winterhawks
forwards and Montreal Canadiens draft picks Marcel Hossa and Jozef Balej, who play along with
Kingston Frontenacs’ Tomas Skvaridlo on the first line. Skvaridlo was drafted by the Pittsburgh
Penguins in 1999 and he plays very solid at the WJC. The defense has its star in Rene Vydareny,
a Vancouver Canucks prospect, who had trouble with his former Slovakian team and wasn’t
permitted to play for the Canucks till late December. Rumors say that with a good performance at the WJC
he should see some ice time with the Canucks already this season, but he is heading for the
Kansas City Blades most likely. Two players of this Slovakian squad could hear their names
called in June – defenseman Tomas Slovak of Kosice is the top Slovakian prospect and he’ll be
drafted sure and goalie Peter Budaj, a Toronto St.Michael’s Majors player, who may be a late

round pick.

But the Czechs have their ace in Pavel Brendl.
How good he can be he showed again in this game as he was dominating the ice. New York
Rangers scouts had to be total delighted with his performance. But let’s start from the
beginning.

Rostislav Klesla, the WJC top scoring defenseman, likes to be among the first in the scoresheet,
just like in this game. After a great play by Brendl he used his pass to fire a slap shot
which surprised Budaj and gave the Czechs a 1:0 lead. The Slovakian team looked shaky in this
game and damaged his performance with many fouls. They weren’t an offensive threat and the
Slovakian defensive corps didn’t have the best day, too. But in the first period the Czechs
weren’t able to score more than once and head coach Jaroslav Holik became angry. This
authoritative coach knows when to shout at the players to make them start playing real hockey
and this was obviously the case after the first period. He benched the fourth line and shuffled
the players on the third line to increase the tempo of the Czech game. This showed to be a
great idea when Vaclav Nedorost needed just 30 seconds of the second period to set the score
at 2:0. Again the goal was following a great play by Pavel Brendl, who deked the defensemen
and made a perfect pass to Nedorost, who chipped it in. That was it for the second period.
But in the third the Czechs turned on their offensive engine. And it was Pavel Brendl who has
beaten Peter Budaj after Vaclav Nedorost gave him the final pass. From then the Slovaks knew
that they’re going to lose this game and showed almost nothing but fouls. But the Czech side
wasn’t too gentle, too. Jakub Cutta received a 10-minute penalty and also other players weren’t
forced to make the fouls they did. So Pavel Brendl displayed his skills once again as he fed
Zdenek Blatny with a pass which ended in the net of Budaj. That was a stellar performance
of the first line. All three forwards scored a goal and Pavel Brendl added three assists to make it
4:0. Just 2 minutes later Marek Tomica scored his first goal at the WJC and 2001 prospect
Tomas Plekanec got his first point at the WJC, one that he deserved very much. That was enough
for the Slovaks. They fired only 3 shots at Tomas Duba in the third period and went away with
a 5:0 loss. Tomas Duba recorded his first shutout at the WJC and he surprises the hockey world
just like Zdenek Smid did last year. It’s true that he plays behind a great defense, but he
plays so well that he leads the goalies at the WJC in both save percentage and goals against
average statistics with .9437 and 1,00 respectively. That’s a goalie the Czechs need for the
following games!
Czech Republic - Slovakia 5:0 (1:0, 1:0, 3:0)

Scoring summary

First period - 4. Rostislav Klesla (Pavel Brendl)

Second period - 21. Vaclav Nedorost (Pavel Brendl)

Third period - 43. Pavel Brendl (Vaclav Nedorost)
               52. Zdenek Blatny (Pavel Brendl)
               54. Marek Tomica (Tomas Plekanec)

Powerplays - Czech Republic 1/12
             Slovakia 1/8

Individual player scoring
                      Goals  Assists  Points
Rostislav Klesla 1       0         1
Libor Ustrnul           0       0         0
Jakub Grof              0       0         0
Jan Choteborsky     0       0         0
David Nosek            0       0         0
Jakub Cutta             0       0         0
Pavel Brendl            1       3         4
Vaclav Nedorost    1       1         2
Zdenek Blatny         1       0         0
Radim Vrbata          0       0         0
Michal Sivek            0       0         0
Martin Erat             0       0         0
Ivan Rachunek          0       0         0
Tomas Plekanec    0       1         1
Marek Tomica         1       0         1
Ladislav Vlcek         0       0         0
Lukas Havel             0       0         0
Patrik Moskal           0       0         0
Tomas Duba           0       0         0

Team scoring leaders
                      Goals  Assists  Points
Pavel Brendl            2       5         7
Vaclav Nedorost    3       2         5
Zdenek Blatny          2       3         5
Rostislav Klesla     2       3         5
Martin Erat             2       1         3
Michal Sivek            2       1         3
Radim Vrbata         1       2         3
Jan Choteborsky     1       1         2
Lukas Havel             1       1         2
Marek Tomica         1       1         2
Ivan Rachunek         1       0         1
Ladislav Vlcek         1       0         1
Jakub Cutta             0       1         1
Jakub Grof              0       1         1
Tomas Plekanec     0       1         1
              Other players scoreless