Petr Holik scored the tiebreaking goal in the third period and Petr Mrazek made 52 saves to lead the Czech Republic to a 5-2 win over the United States yesterday at Edmonton, Alberta.
The Detroit Red Wings prospect turned back point-blank shots and goalmouth redirections, stopped a penalty shot, and even got a little help from the goalpost in the win.
The loss ended the United States’s chances of advancing to the medal round.
Holik tapped in a goalmouth rebound with less than eight minutes to go in the third period to break a 2-2 tie.
Tomas Filippi added a goal at 17:19, followed by an empty-net goal by Holik just over a minute later.
“I was so focused before the game because it was America and I’m playing in [North] American hockey,’’ said Mrazek, who plays in the Ontario Hockey League. “I wanted to win this game. The guys helped me a lot in the zone, with rebounds. It’s a win for the team.’’
The victory also assured that Canada (3-0) would win Pool B and get a bye to the semifinal.
Filippi finished with two goals. Tomas Hertl also scored for the Czech Republic and T.J. Tynan and Bill Arnold scored for the US.
The Czechs (2-1) are in second place in Pool B. The Czechs wrap up the preliminary round against Finland today. The US (1-2) plays Canada today.
US forward Jason Zucker said the loss was stunning.
“No words can describe it,’’ Zucker said. “We played a fantastic game tonight. I thought we played outstanding.
“Usually if you get 54 shots in a game you give yourself a good chance to win. Hats off to them. They played well and their goalie played great.’’
The US opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 5:14 of the first period. J.T. Miller, streaking down the left wing, slipped the puck through the slot, which Tynan then redirected past Mrazek.
The Czechs were playing shorthanded at the time after forward Petr Straka was given a boarding major and a game misconduct for ramming US defenseman Derek Forbort into the boards at center ice.
The Czechs answered at 12:05 when forward Filippi fired a shot from close in on US goalie Jack Campbell.
Campbell blocked the shot with his pad, but before he could smother the puck Filippi banged it through his legs and into the net.
The US outshot the Czechs, 18-6, in the period, but the game was tied at 1.
The US regained the lead at 11:50 of the second period. Mrazek deflected a bad-angle shot from Zucker right to Arnold, who was standing at the side of the crease for the quick tap-in.
Czech forward Hertl answered three minutes later, grabbing a turnover in the US end, walking in alone on Campbell and lifting a backhand over Campbell’s left shoulder.
That set the stage for a frantic third period in which the US put 21 shots at Mrazek - and still lost.
“I don’t really know what to say,’’ Miller said.
“We hit three posts, so I guess it just wasn’t our day I guess.
“It’s not like we played bad and got beat up on. We played our best and it still wasn’t enough, which is just really upsetting.’’
In other games yesterday, Teemu Pulkkinen scored four goals in Finland’s 10-1 rout of Denmark in Edmonton and Max Friberg scored his sixth goal of the championship in Sweden’s 9-1 rout of Slovakia at Calgary.