MALMO, SWE – The Czechs buried their arch rivals from Slovakia early and kept their former brothers at bay for the rest of the game, winning a penalty-filled contest 4-1 and dominating throughout.
“The start was really important,” said Czech winger Jakub Vrana. “When we took penalties, we had good blocked shots in our box play. That made them down a little bit and then we came with the chances.”
Here’s a look at some of the NHL prospects and 2014 draft hopefuls from the game and how they performed:
Radek Faksa, Dallas (13th overall in 2012) – You can tell this is his third world juniors – loads of confidence while lugging the puck up the ice. Still has that great long stride and protects the puck with his big frame. But the best moment of Faksa`s afternoon came late, when the Kitchener Rangers center blocked a big shot on the penalty kill, even though his team was up 4-0 at the time. That selflessness can`t be taught and shows his leadership on the Czech squad.
David Pastrnak, 2014 draft – One goal, really stood out. The right winger caused turnovers by going into the corners and showed a real confidence with the puck while playing on the top line. Also saw time at the end of a penalty kill and used his speed throughout the game to cause havoc at both ends. Currently plays in Sweden for Sodertalje.
Marek Langhamer, Phoenix (184th overall in 2012) – Bailed out his team on a 5-on-3 late in the first while protecting a 2-0 lead. Big netminder who likes to get down in the butterfly as soon as possible. Fights through distractions; doesn’t lose focus. Was also the goalie of record when the Czechs stunned Canada and plays for Medicine Hat in the Western League.
Ondrej Kase, 2014 draft – Nice creativity with the puck. Willing to forecheck and chase the puck, but does so with an active stick rather than physical play. The left winger plays back home with Chomutov and showed nice chemistry late with Vrana.
Jakub Vrana, 2014 draft – Showed great offensive prowess on a 4-on-4 breakaway, ringing a laser off the post. Did same thing later at even strength, using excellent speed to put distance between him and pursuers before hitting iron again. Had a third chance go wide, but his strong showing in the third period was good to see. Plays in Sweden for Linkoping.
Martin Reway, Montreal (116th overall in 2013) – You can see the skill. Plays the half-wall on the power play and has great control with the puck. The Gatineau Olympiques left winger assisted on Slovakia`s only goal.
Peter Cehlarik, Boston (90th overall in 2013) – Quick release and great size, but the left winger still doesn’t play physical, which was a criticism in an otherwise meteoric draft year rise. I would have liked to see him right in front of the net on the PP, but he tended to drift through the crease and stay behind or at the side of the net. Plays in Sweden for Lulea and Asploven.
Marko Dano, Columbus (27th overall in 2013) – Its bums me out to say this, but Dano gets less impressive with every world juniors. This is his third and the physical center/winger looked either disinterested, or was lining up a hit that put him out of position (and sometimes he didn`t even make contact). Hopefully this was just a bad day at the office. Plays in the KHL for Slovan.
Get scores, schedules and more on THN.com’s World Junior Championship Central page.