Written by Ivana Paulova and Robert Neuhauser
Slovakia – Switzerland 2:3
Defense wins championships. A clear motto of the playoff contests.
Including the quarterfinal match Slovakia-Switzerland. The beginning
of the game was quite nervous and both teams were waiting for
mistakes of the opposing side. The Swiss players were slightly
better in the first minutes and created some chances because
they played better in the offensive zone. The first Slovak quality
chance was really huge. Tomas Kopecky went on a lone breakaway
but 17-year old goalie Tobias Stephan could make a save on his
backhand deke. Minutes later Tomas Jasko, a 2002 prospect, had
nearly the same chance but the pass he should receive was out
of Jasko´s reach and he couldn´t corral this puck. The Swiss
team was playing shorthanded twice but their defense worked well
and the Slovaks didn´t have any quality chances. Overall the
Slovaks were more skilled and handled the puck better, but the
Swiss grit and a willingness to play physical payed the dividends
and they were more than equal opponent to the Slovaks.
It was clear that the team which will score first will have a big advantage. Both teams
tried hard, Frantisek Skladany went for a two-on-one breakaway but Skladany couldn’t lift
the puck over Stephan.
At 11:07 Thomas Nussli won the puck behind the net, passed it to Patrick Bartschi, who found
a hole in Peter Hamerlik’s five-hole to give the Swiss a 1:0 lead.
The Swiss team was better in the second period and they played more aggresively. But
they had enough luck. Marek Svatos fired the puck from behind the net, it hit the skates
of some players and finished in the Swiss net.
In the third period both teams were waiting for mistakes of the opposition. Tomas Kopecky
and Andrei Ambuhl had lone breakaways, but none managed to score. At 17:25 Thibaut Monnet
found the puck in a mess in front of Hamerlik and lifted it over the Slovak goalie’s glove
into the net. The Swiss team was happy for only a while. Tomas Malec has beaten Stephan
with a wrister from the left faceoff circle just 36 seconds later to establish a 2:2
Because there were no goals scored in overtime, penalty shots had to decide. Tomas Kopecky
scored on the first penalty shot but was the only Slovak to do so. And because Andreas
Camenzind and Sven Helfenstein were also succesfull, Switzerland moved into semifinals.
Finland – Czech Republic 3:1
The Czech team went into the semifinal contest with a will to make up for their bad play
during the preliminary round. It was quite surprising that there was no sellout at the
Pardubice arena. The game started at a quite slow pace, with the Czech team serving two
minor penalties for too many men during the first nine minutes. The Czech team was trying
to score the leading goal but had to cope with lack of productivity, just like on the
whole tournament. No wonder it was the Finnish team which grabbed the lead. Joni Yli-Torkko
and Tuomo Ruutu created a position for Tuomas Pihlman whose wrister finished behind
Kari Lehtonen’s back. The Finns had a 1:0 cushion.
The Czechs finally made use of one of their powerplays in the second period. With Tuomo
Ruutu in the penalty box for slashing, Tomas Plekanec fed Jiri Novotny who passed the puck
immediately to Petr Prucha, who found a hole in Lehtonen’s position. From now on the Czechs
played more defensively, but eventually wanted to score one more goal. That was a good idea,
but the Czech defense wasn’t working so well. The tie lasted for only ten minutes. After
a play of Toni Koivisto and Joni Pitkanen Jarkko Immonen got the puck and released quite a
feeble shot. However, it went through Lukas Hronek’s five-hole and the Finns had their
For the whole third period the game was nearly the same. The Czechs tried to score, but
the Finnish defensive wall was too strong. Their passes ended at the boards or in the corners.
Nearly two minutes before the final buzzer head coach Holik took a time-out and pulled
Lukas Hronek of the net. It was the last desperate try to tie the game. There was a goal,
but not in the Finnish net. At 59:51 the Czech chances of making a medal were over.
Tomi Maki could corral a bad Czech outlet pass and sent the puck into an empty net. Game
over, the Finns recorded a 3:1 win and play in the semifinals against Russia. Hardworking
two-way winger Miloslav Horava and swift skating Tuomo Ruutu were selected as the best
players of their respective teams.
USA – Russia 1:6
06:55 RUS Tchistov (Grigorenko, Trubachev) 0:1
26:16 RUS Tyutin (Tchistov) 0:2 PP
26:24 RUS Frolov (unassisted) 0:3
30:44 RUS Suglobov (Korsunov, Kondratiev) 0:4 PP
36:01 USA Eaves (Brown, Hollweg) 1:4
38:03 RUS Grebeshkov (Frolov, Volchenkov) 1:5 PP
58:44 RUS Trubachev (Tchistov) 1:6 PP
Canada – Sweden 5:2
15:30 SWE Lundqvist (unassisted) 0:1
16:06 SWE Hedlund (Sundqvist, Samuelsson) 0:2 PP
16:29 CAN Cammalleri (Boyes, Hamhuis) 1:2
18:59 CAN Stoll (Sutherby, Ott) 2:2
30:36 CAN Boyes (Bouwmeester) 3:2 PP
34:56 CAN Murray (Upshall) 4:2
59:02 CAN Sutherby (Stoll) 5:2 SH
Belarus – France 2:3
16:35 BLR Kastsitsyn (Shymanski) 1:0
23:41 FRA Brodin (Folcke, Ballet) 1:1 PP
36:50 FRA Albert (Petit) 2:1
49:11 FRA Kevorkian (Brodin) 3:1
59:11 BLR Zakharau (Kulakou, Harbavy) 3:2