|Marek Mazanec making one of his 32 saves|
in Plzeň's shootout win over Pardubice
photo: Jan Jedlička
|Sparta go close against Litvinov|
Litvinov were leapfrogged by Slavia Praha, whose post-Christmas form has seen them win three in a row, and go into Sunday's derby full of confidence. Slavia scored six times for just the second time this season, with both of these occurrences coming in the past week. Dominik Furch added another shutout to his total for this season and Vladimír Růžička Sr. will be delighted with the turn in form of Tomáš Pospíšil, as the Kometa asset scored his fourth goal in three games, with his brace against Vitkovice. Furch was made to work hard for his shutout, making 34 saves and stopping a Jan Káňa penalty shot which came early in the first period. Slavia had a rotten first period, taking five minor penalties to give Vitkovice all the chances they needed to score, but Furch was equal to them all. Once Slavia had stopped their march to the penalty box, they blew Vitkovice away, as they scored four times in the second frame to take the game away. Pospíšil scored his first 45 seconds in, Michal Vondrka found him completely alone in front of Malek to tap home. Twelve minutes later, Pospíšil had his second, this time finishing off a 2 on 1, firing the puck into the net after receiving it from Jan Alinč. Vitkovice's defence was all at sea dealing with the speed of Slavia's forwards, and Slavia's third came after Tomáš Kůrka turned on the jets and burned past both defenceman, firing the wrister past Malek with 74 seconds to go in the second. Slavia had time to add one more before the break though, with the goal coming from the stick of Tomáš Kudělka, as Vladimír Růžička Jr's cross crease pass took a wicked deflection off of the Vitkovice defenceman. That spelled the end of Roman Malek's night, the veteran goalie let down by his defence, although Malek's save percentage was slightly worse for wear after two periods, as Slavia had scored 4 goals off of just 14 shots. Filip Šindelář couldn't do much better though, as Slavia scored twice more on just five shots, as Lukáš Krenželok scored on a penalty shot, eluding Šindelář's weak poke check attempt to score on the backhand, before Michal Vondrka closed the scoring, adding to his two assists on the night by scoring a marvellous goal, easing past Ctirad Ovčačík before scoring on his backhand. Brilliant by Slavia. Worrying by Vitkovice.
HC Mountfield moved up to third place in the standings with an impressive victory at the Zimní stadion Luďka Čajky against Zlín. The hosts outplayed Mountfield for a large part of the game, but Jakub Kovář had another solid performance in goal, making 30 saves. After a scoreless first, Ondřej Veselý got Zlín on the board with a rebound goal after great board play behind the net by Roman Vlach and loan signing Marek Melenovsky. Mountfield would come back though, and it was Jakub Langhammer and Milan Gulaš who were the heroes for the Budvar boys. Langhammer scored his first, assisted by Gulaš just over a minute after Zlin went ahead, as the puck seemed to trickle through both of the Zlin defencemen's legs, before falling at the stick of Langhammer who rifled past Sedláček. Zlin thought they had retaken the lead late in the second period, but a Petr Čajánek goal was washed out for high sticks. In the third, Mountfield took the lead for the first time, with Gulaš scoring a powerplay goal, assisted by Langhammer, but Zlin tied the game up a couple of minutes later, with Marek Melenovsky scoring his first goal in blue and yellow since returning on loan from Karlovy Vary, somehow jamming the puck home whilst being wrestled to the ice by both of the Mountfield defencemen. However, it wasn't to be for the Moravians, as with just three minutes to go, Langhammer scored his second of the night, finishing off a two on one break with Jiří Šimánek, somehow managing to get the puck out of his feet before firing top shelf, and giving the points to the České Budějovice outfit.
In mid table action, the white tigers of Liberec put the knights of Kladno to the sword, thrashing them by a score of 8-2 at home. Kladno's much maligned goaltending issues reared their head again, as neither Cikánek, who was pulled after conceding five on twenty, or Chabera, who conceded three on fourteen showed any signs of keeping Kladno in the game. Liberec had eight different scorers, and scored four times in the second frame, but the star of the show, once again, was captain Petr Nedvěd who went 1+3 on the night. Credit must also be given to Jiří Moravec, who had three assists. Liberec gave Kladno a five minute powerplay in the second, as David Štich was tossed for the game for a 5+game penalty for roughing, as he beat the you know what out of Jiří Bicek after the Slovakian forward had collided with Marek Pinc. However, Liberec ended up scoring twice on Kladno's extended powerplay. Kladno's slide towards the relegation playoffs leaves them with a cushion of a solitary point over Kometa and Slavia, who are in 10th and 11th respectively. All the optimism that the club had at the start of the year seems to be slowly fading.
|Subdued celebrations after their 8-2 victory|
photo: Vladimir Jína
The final game of the night was a bottom of the table clash between Kometa Brno and Mlada Boleslav, whereby the second city side scraped by, condemning Mlada to their fifth straight defeat. Mlada did manage to get a point of the game as they took it to a shootout, but in another tight game, their offence only mustered a solitary goal. Mlada took the lead in the first period through Jiří Cetkovský, as he scored on a delayed powerplay goal after brilliant work by Zdeněk Bahenský. This goal came after Michal Valent had stopped a Tomáš Divíšek penalty shot, and made a number of quality saves, 38 on the night. Brno tied the game in the second period with a Tomáš Svoboda powerplay goal, scoring on a rebound. The game petered out in the final minutes, and come shootout time, Sasu Hovi took over replacing Trvaj, and the Finnish netminder stopped both of Mlada's efforts, whilst Divíšek and Dlouhy scored for Brno, giving them the two points.