PARDUBICE, Czech Republic – A three-goal, second period performance by the Czech Republic lifted the hosts to a 5-1 win against Finland in the U20 fifth-place game.
For both teams, the game was bittersweet after suffering tough quarterfinal losses yesterday. But to each team’s credit, the game was a competitive affair for most of the 60 minutes. It was the second straight year that the Czechs defeated the Finns in the placement game. Last year, the Czechs won the same contest by a 6-2 margin.
The Czechs trailed 1-0 early after Harri Pesonen scored just 1:59 into the game. The lead stood for nearly 25 minutes until the Czechs countered with their second period attack. Daniel Bartek, Michael Frolik and Tomas Kundratek all scored in the definitive period.
Zbynek Hampl made it a three-goal lead with a power-play goal 7:46 into third period, while Martin Latal put the finishing touches on the game in the closing minutes with an empty netter. Things got chippy in the last 10 minutes of the game, as the teams combined for 66 penalty minutes. Miko Malkamaki and Patrik Prokop each received 20 minute game misconducts after a scrum as the frustration of being out of the medal race was clear on both sides of the ice.
It was the second consecutive year that a home team has not won a medal at the U20 Championship. Canada was the last team to win a medal on home ice in 2006 when they took gold.