PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. – Two goals 34 seconds apart early in the third period was the difference in a 3-2 Czech Republic win over Atlantic on Saturday afternoon. The victory gave the Czechs seventh place at the 2104 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
With the win, the Czechs also avenged their loss to Atlantic in the 2012 seventh-place game in Windsor, Ont.
Atlantic came close to tying the game several times in the closing moments. Czech goalie Ales Stezka stoned Nathan Noel (St. John’s, N.L./Saint John, LHJMQ) on the doorstep and two Atlantic players rang shots off the post in the last 90 seconds.
Noel and Alexandre Jacob (Dieppe, N.B./Moncton, NBPEIMMHL) scored for Atlantic. Mitchell Balmas (Sydney, N.S./Cape Breton, NSMMHL) added two assists.
Filip Suchy, Simon Stransky and Vojtech Budik scored for the Czechs.
The Czech Republic opened the scoring just over six minutes in, when Suchy finished off a three-on-two rush from the left face-off circle.
Frédéric Foulem (Dieppe, N.B./Stanstead College, Cdn. Prep) wasn’t busy during the first period, but made several key saves when called upon, stopping Suchy on a breakaway and Jiri Bambula on a partial breakaway moments later. His teammates rewarded him for keeping them in the game three minutes before the first intermission. Noel skated from just inside his own blue-line, cut in front of the goalie and slid the puck under his pads for the equalizer.
There was finally a break in the back-and-forth affair late in the second period. Noel took the puck from his zone around one defender, then through another, before finding Jacob trailing behind him for the go-ahead goal.
The Czechs fought back to tie it up five minutes into the third. Stransky passed to himself off the left boards and scored short side on Foulem.
Half a minute later they took the lead for good. The puck found Budik along the left boards, whose quick shot found its way through traffic.
Atlantic outshot the Czech Republic 31-27.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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