As the end of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey tournament concludes, only 2 remaining teams are left to play, Team Europe and Team Canada. The only other team that actually showed up to play in Group A of the tournament, were the Czech’s. The stand alone team the Czech’s beat in the tournament was Team USA, who lost all 3 of their games and had a minus 6 goal differential to end their rally. But, on a good note for Team Czech Republic ended their tournament with 3 points in their group with a win over Team USA and an OT loss to Team Europe. By no means was this tournament great hockey played by the Czech’s, considering they were shutout by Team Canada in their first game 6-0.
As mentioned in the preview the x-factor of the Czech’s progression throughout the tournament would be GOALTENDING. The man between the pipes to start their series was Michal Neuvirth, who allowed the tournament favored Team Canada to blow by with 6 goals. To me this was a confidence killer to Neuvirth, especially because Team Canada scored 3 goals in the first period of the game and although I am no head coach I would have at least given Ondrej Pavelec a chance to allow the team to score with a fresh goalie in net and give Neuvirth the rest of the game to regain his composure and confidence to possibly start another game. This game plan is assuming that Petr Mrazek would only play one game and not play out the rest of the tournament for the Czech’s. On the plus side though, Petr Mrazek stood tall while he was in net with Team Czech Republic, which we hope to see translate back with his home NHL team the Detroit Red Wings this season.
Team Czech Republic goaltender Petr Mrazek stops Team Europe’s Anze Kopitar on a second period penalty shot during World Cup of Hockey action in Toronto on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016.
A large concern for Team Czech’s that was noticeable game in and game out, was their offense. The team could not produce any goals against Team Canada, and would continuously turn the puck over in the neutral zone. As a result of this the Czech’s were getting outshot, especially by the end of the second period against the Team Europe game when it was 21-9, shots in favor of Europe. Over a 3 game span the team only produced 6 goals but were left with a minus 6 goal differential, with 12 goals against the team. Out of all 8 teams within the World Cup, the Czech’s ended ahead of Team USA and Team Finland, both of which did not win a game when it counted in the tournament.
Posted below are the scores of the games Team Czech Republic played in the preliminary tournament, and their opponent.
Team Czech Republic vs Team Canada- Final: 0-6
Team Europe vs Team Czech Republic- Final/OT: 3-2
Team USA vs Team Czech Republic- Final: 3-4