Drama till the last minute! The Czechs won a narrow victory in a shootout against the IPH team 2:1

In Tuesday’s match, the Czech para hockey team played a balanced duel with the IPH team. The elite para hockey players from Italy and Germany had the USA goalkeeper Jen Lee in their goal. The hard-fought game was a scoreless drama for the first two periods, until the very end of the match. The drama escalated in the end when the Czechs’ deciding goal was judged by the video referee. The winners of the match were determined only thanks to a shootout.

No goal was scored in the first act of the second Czech match, but there was no shortage of drama. United States goalkeeper Jen Lee sat in the goal of the IPH team today and was a tough nut to crack for the Czech snipers. However, even the Karlovy Vary forward Patrik Sedláček, in his representative goalkeeper’s gear, looked at home in the Czech goal. Same as in yesterday’s game, in the goal of the IPH team, he didn’t do badly at all. Today, neither Rob Armstrong nor Christoph Depaoli surpassed him in the first fifteen minutes, and neither did Rod Crane at the end of the period. Thanks to his teammates, he also withstood two short-handed plays and even when the Czechs played three-on-five for seven seconds, Sedláček didn’t have to intervene thanks to the puck being shot across the entire rink during the puck drop.

After the break, the Czech goalkeeper had a lot to do to keep the score tied and his teammates also had a lot on their hands in the case of shots fired to their opponents, while Lee mainly blasted pucks from the net to safety of his IPH teammates. Then Kubeš’ cannon shot flew high from the right circle, but Lee caught it in the air. In the 25th minute, Michal Geier made a solo escape, put the puck under his sled on his left stick and fired. Lee saw through his plan and reached for the puck towards the right post. After another minute played, Filip Veselý tried to score a goal from the other side, but unsuccessfully. After these attempts the Czech offense tried to threaten their opponent by using Alex Ohar’s skills. However, in the corner of the defence zone of the IPH team, Palát and Armstrong were having some disputes, so the referee sent them to cool down to the penalty bench. Later in a four-on-four play, it was very dangerous in front of Sedláček due to all the action, but Depaoli’s aim wasn’t sharp enough for the goal.

Sedláček extinguished the confusion in the Czech defence only for a moment. He deflected a few clear shots but didn’t reach Liam Cunningham’s shot in time. Cunningham caught the sliding puck from behind the goal and sent the puck over Sedláček’s shoulder. Václav Hečko then had the opportunity to make the score even, but the experienced IPH goalie made a save. The packed crowd saw more chances from both sides but it wasn’t until the start of the 41st minute which got them off their seats. The Czech team played a power play in which Filip Veselý added the second goal of the tournament and tied the match. The dramatization of the game came nineteen seconds before the end of regular playing time, where Alex Ohar managed to forcefully block his shot over the defenders, which he succeeded in doing. However, the referee Martin Rapák immediately signalled a meeting with the video referee. The goal was not accepted, so the game went into overtime.
After the first few seconds of overtime, Filip Veselý could have ended the four-on-four game, but he only marked one of Lee’s posts in the goal. After Hečko drove the puck into the zone and the game was played in full lineups, Alex Ohar leaned into the shot. The IPH team also tried to attack, but did not pass through the middle zone. The Czechs started another offensive action, at the end of which was Michal Geier and after half a minute Zelinka and Veselý too. When Václav Hečko didn’t convert his own escape either, the match came to a shootout, in which the more experienced Martin Kudela sat in the Czech goal and the sudden death shootout followed. Since Kyle Zych did not beat Kudela, Michal Geier had to end the game with his own hands and hockey sticks. His speed and precise aiming under the crossbar were the attributes of the Czech victory.

The Czechs take their first valuable victory at the IPH CUP 2023 tournament and have a day off tomorrow. They will face team USA at 18:00 on Thursday, the 5th of October.

The International Para Hockey Cup 2023 takes place with the support of the National Sports Agency, the Moravian-Silesian Region, the Statutory City of Ostrava and partners Kaufland and Komerční banka.

Text: Gabriela Juříková Translation: Adela Katy Dawson Photos: Vladimír Pryček/ Radim Horák