Czech Republic vs. Switzerland WJC Quarterfinal Game Recap

By Robert Neuhauser
As winners of the Group A at the WJC the Czech team faced the fourth placed team of the Group
B, team of Switzerland. This was an advantage for the Czechs who avoided meeting Finland,
Russia or Canada in the quarterfinals. But this opponent can’t be taken easy. Many of the
fans would say, that Switzerland is no problem for the Czech team loaded by future NHL regulars,
but that is not the case. The Swiss guys are gritty players who play together for 4 years and
even if they have no potential superstar on their roster, they often cause trouble to the top
teams. This is what they showed during their games in the Group B, they managed to play a tie
game with the host Russians, 3:3, trailed Finland only by one goal, 2:3, won over Belarus
and only their last game was a clear loss, 4:8 to Canada. But every of their four goals was
scored on the powerplay and the first line plays some pretty good hockey. They’re well
organised, play good defensively and are waiting for the mistakes of the opponent.

The physically good Swiss guys can make every mistake of the opponent to their advantage,
that’s exactly what the Czech coaches have seen when they attended the game against Canada.
The coaches did everything that was possible to prepare the team for this game of high
importance. They even had a secret videotape with the practices of the Swiss team. That’s
something the Swiss coaches wouldn’t like to hear. So the Czechs were ready and went out
on the ice willing to show the others who is better.

At the beginning was everything going easy. Atlanta Thrashers prospect Zdenek Blatny netted
the first goal with just 3 minutes played in the game as he deflected a shot of Vaclav Nedorost
into the Swiss net to give the Czechs a one-goal lead. But the Swiss played what they wanted
to play. They forechecked well and didn’t allow the Czechs any time for a pass and a special
checking line played on Vaclav Nedorost’s first line in the first period. And the Swiss
forward duo of Sebastien Reuille and Thibault Monnet had obviously their day. Reuille scored
the first goal in the 18th minute as he rebounded a shot of Monnet while standing in front
of Tomas Duba.

The smile on the faces of the Czech players was frozen in the second period as Thibault Monnet
scored his unassisted marker the same way like Sebastien Reuille did, Tomas Duba couldn’t control
the rebound. In those situations the Czechs see, how good it is to have Pavel Brendl on the
team. He needed just two minutes to tie the game at 2 when he fired a wrist shot from a
pass of Vaclav Nedorost, who was playing terrific in this game. The Swiss forechecking was
hard to overcome and they were playing good along the boards and the Czechs couldn’t play their
game full of skills, smarts and passing. And that wasn’t the worst thing. Sebastien Reuille
scored his second this game with just 1 minute left in the period, when he once again deflected
a shot by Thibault Monnet.

From the 37th minute the Czechs were off Dallas Stars’ forward prospect Ladislav Vlcek, who
injured his ribs and was replaced by Patrik Moskal in the third line. But the Czechs were
willing to win and they promised to do everything to win when they talked during the break.
They played with a higher tempo in the last period, skated better and forced the Swiss players
to make mistakes. After five minutes Patrik Moskal set up 2001 prospect Tomas Plekanec for the
tying goal as Plekanec fired a wrist shot over the glove of the Swiss goalie. The game was
tied and the Czechs rallied to a victory. And it was again Pavel Brendl who won the game for
the Czechs. This god-given scorer read the play of the Swiss goalie, went to the other bar, was
hit by a defenseman, but stood in his postion waiting for a pass. Vaclav Nedorost understood
what Brendl wants to do and passed him the puck, who just hit the stick of Brendl, who chipped
it in – 4:3. The 1300 spectators had to enjoy this nice play. And the Swiss players didn’t give
up. During the last ten minutes there were two Czech players on the penalty box and the opponent
pressed hard on the Czechs. The top was the Swiss powerplay with an extra man who replaced the
goaltender. The Czechs tried unsuccesfully to bring the puck to the neutral zone, but suddenly
there was the game over, the joy from a victory a the semifinals ahead!

The Czechs face the Swedish squad in the semifinal game on Wednesday, January, 3rd, 2001 at 2 p.m.
Russian time.

Czech Republic - Switzerland  4:3  (1:1, 1:2, 2:0)

Scoring summary

First period - 3. Zdenek Blatny (Vaclav Nedorost)  1:0
               18. Sebastien Reuille (Thibault Monnet)  1:1

Second period - 32. Thibault Monnet (unassisted) 1:2
                34. Pavel Brendl (Vaclav Nedorost)  2:2
                39. Sebastien Reuille (Thibault Monnet) 2:3

Third period - 45. Tomas Plekanec (Patrik Moskal) 3:3
               48. Pavel Brendl (Vaclav Nedorost) 4:3

Powerplays - Czech Republic 0/5
             Switzerland 0/4

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

Team scoring leaders
                        Goals  Assists  Points
Pavel Brendl              4       5       9
Vaclav Nedorost           3       5       8
Zdenek Blatny             3       3       6
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
Tomas Plekanec            1       1       2
Ivan Rachunek             1       0       1
Ladislav Vlcek            1       0       1
Jakub Cutta               0       1       1
Jakub Grof                0       1       1
Patrik Moskal             0       1       1
           Other players scoreless