|Slavia celebrating in front of the Sešívaní|
Photo: Pavel Vrtiška
| Martin Růžička put in another solid performance|
photo: Marian Ježowicz
After their late autumn slump, Zlin put in a polished performance at home against Vitkovice to keep them in contention for a top six spot. They commanded the game against the Ostrava outfit, limiting them to just 21 shots, which young shot stopper Jakub Sedlaček stopped with relative ease, although he did get clattered for his troubles as Viktor Ujčík ran over the netminder in the third period, luckily not hurting either player. A shutout on home ice is just the confidence boost that the Moravian side needs going into the home stretch. Petr Leška, putting in another impressive season for the club he's spent almost all his career at, opened the scoring, pouncing on a juicy rebound from Roman Málek. This would be the solitary goal in the game until with just seven seconds left, big summer signing Petr Čajánek scored past Malek, finishing the play after a brilliant pass from Petr Holik, who put in another impressive display after being away with the Czech Republic Under-20's in Alberta.
Tomáš Vošvrda was the hero for Liberec as his 46 shot shutout cemented the White Tigers' hold on fifth place, and giving Jiří Kalous a major headache in regards to his starting goaltender. On the other hand, it was another loss for Litvinov, despite having captain Martin Ručinský back in the lineup. With this loss, Litvinov are slowly but surely being sucked into the relegation positions in the Extraliga table. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 until the 34th minute, when Lukáš Vantuch's weak shot from the left wing completely eluded Martin Volke, who had made a brilliant breakaway save just minutes before. It was a shocker of a goal to concede, and it seemed to take the wind out of Litvinov's sails. The final period was a bit of a non-affair, but Liberec got their insurance marker with a minute to go, as Milan Bartovič's low slapshot had too much mustard for Volke, finishing off the play after great play by Jaroslav Kudrna.
It was top against bottom at the Tesla Arena, and Sparta Praha took the three points away from the basement boys Mlada Boleslav. However, the league leaders didn't have the easy evening that many would have predicted, as Mlada put up a spirited display, only going down by 2-0. Sparta only had thirty shots on Michal Valent, who with this performance may have got the starters job off of Jaroslav Hübl. In fact, Mlada held Sparta until the 51st minute, when who else but Petr Ton broke through the Mlada defence at the blue line, and fired a wicked slapshot which beat Valent low on the stick side. Tomáš Pöpperle made 24 saves for his shutout, but don't be fooled by the low numbers, as Mlada had two clear breakaways, as well as a great 2 on 1 chance which Pöpperle denied, demonstrating his lightning lateral quickness. Sparta sealed the game with just over two minutes to go as Petr Tenkrát scored, with Ton and Angel Krstev assisting, the second assist of the night for the latter.
Karlovy Vary have been in good form as of late, but they didn't have enough to beat 4th placed HC Mountfield. In what was František Výborný's 700th game as a coach, Mountfield gave the coach something to celebrate as they took the three points with a 4-2 victory. The Budvar boys got goals from four different scorers as Lukáš Květoň, Jakub Langhammer, Peter Mikus and Pavel Kašpařík all lit the lamp. Karlovy Vary were always chasing the game after Květoň's fourth minute goal, and although Vaclav Skuhravy scored in the second to tie the game up, they just didn't have the legs for it. Jakub Kovář made 30 saves for the victory.
Plzeň were without star forward Tomáš Vlasák, but they sent a message to leaders Sparta, as they thrashed Kladno 7-2 on the road putting in a brilliant display. Jan Chabera was pulled for the second game in a row as Plzeň scored three goals on eight shots in the first ten minutes, with Michal Dvořák, Jan Kovář, and Vaclav Pletka finding the back of the net. Both Kovář and Radek Duda scored three points for Kladno, as they added a further two goals in each period to easily dispatch of the Knights, who are falling into the relegation race. Adam Svoboda only had 24 shots to deal with, stopping 22 in his sides win which leaves them three points behind Sparta with a game in hand.