World U17 Championship

By Andrew Bourgeois

The Czech Republic got some vindication, Team Quebec jumped for joy and Team Western watched its medal hopes vanish.

That summed up the fifth day of the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, where the Czechs bounced back from a heart-breaking, disputed setback on Tuesday to play the role of spoiler last night in front of 2,063 fans at the Selkirk Arena.

The Czechs, who protested their 5-4 loss to Quebec on Tuesday but had it thrown out yesterday morning, got four goals from Jakub Sindel — his first of the tournament — in a 7-2 thumping of tournament host Team Western.

Team Western, which finished 2-2 and only needed a win or tie last night to qualify for the playoffs, fell to fourth in Pool A and will play for seventh place today against Team Atlantic in Stonewall at 2 o’clock.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Western forward Stefan Meyer, who had a second-period goal. “For the past games it looked like we came to win, but tonight it looked like we just had no desire to win. That Czech team worked hard tonight and they deserved this win more than us.”

Team Quebec was smiling because its 2-1-1 record in Pool A after a 4-4 draw with Team USA yesterday afternoon landed it in a semifinal tonight (7:30) in Stonewall against Team Pacific, which beat Russia 5-0 last night in Stonewall to finish at 4-0.

The U.S. (3-0-1) will play 3-1 Team Ontario, who blanked Finland 3-0 yesterday, in the other semifinal tonight in Selkirk at 7:30.

Team Western had a 35-25 edge in the shot department, but Czech netminder Vladislav Koutsky made some outstanding saves to preserve the win.

Jiri Drtina had two goals for the Czechs, with Lukas Kaspar adding the other. Josh Froese had the first Western goal.

The Czechs, who were also 2-2 in Pool A, finished third because of last night’s win and will meet Russia at 2 o’clock this afternoon in Selkirk for fifth place.

Finland will take on Germany in the ninth-place game tonight in Steinbach. Team Quebec caught a break before it even hit the ice yesterday and it looked like its good fortune was going to continue when it had built up a 4-2 third-period lead over unbeaten and defending champion Team USA yesterday afternoon.

The Canadian Hockey Association threw out a protest that the Czech Republic filed on Tuesday following its game against Quebec. The Czechs alleged that Quebec’s Steve Bernier had scored after time had expired in the third period to give his team a 5-4 win. The CHA ruled yesterday morning that the referee’s decision was final and threw out the protest.

Bernier scored his second goal 2:24 into the third period of yesterday's game and it appeared that Quebec was well on its way to clinching first place in Pool A because of the tie-breaking formula.

That’s when Team USA winger T.J. Hensick stepped in and prevented Quebec’s first-place hopes. He scored goals at 8:11 and 16:01 of the third period to lift the U.S. into the draw.