Czech Republic players Matej Pekar, left, and Ondrej Machala, battle for a puck along the end boards against Slovakia opponents Martin Fehevary and Michal Ivan during Wednesday’s pre-tournament game at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Czechs edge Slovaks in shootout at sold-out arena in Nanaimo

Jakub Pour scores winner in World Juniors pre-tournament game

World Junior-level hockey doesn’t come often, so the Czech Republic and Slovakia teams made sure Nanaimo fans got to see as much of it as possible.

The two teams played 60 minutes of regulation, five minutes of overtime and a shootout that went seven rounds before the Czechs prevailed 2-1 on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena.

Jakub Pour scored the winning goal after the shootout turned into a goaltenders’ duel. Lukas Dostal was the winning goalie and Jakub Lauko scored the Czechs’ first goal.

For Slovakia, Martin Fehervary scored and Juraj Sklenar suffered the loss.

Shots were 27-21 in favour of the Czech Republic.

“It was a tough game, because the Slovaks played pretty well, they skate well, they’re tough, it was quite physical,” said Patrik Elias, former NHL player and an assistant coach with the Czech team.

He said coaches were looking to see how players responded to a smaller ice surface than many of them are used to, and also wanted to assess goaltending.

“It wasn’t an easy game and it wasn’t perfect … Some guys had a really good game, some guys didn’t, and tomorrow’s another day,” Elias said. “You can’t make an evaluation after one game. It’s a work in progress, obviously. We have one more [pre-tournament] game and before they know it, we’ll get going for real.”

GAME ON … The next game for Slovakia is against Team Canada on Friday, Dec. 21, in Victoria. The next game for the Czech Republic is versus Team U.S.A. on Saturday in Langley.



sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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