Czech goalkeeper Aleš Stezka (center) concedes a goal from the Finns in a match at the Swedish Hockey Games in Malmö on February 11, 2023. Behind are disappointed Czech players (from left) Vladimír Sobotka, Libor Zábranský and Lukáš Klok.
Malmö – The Czech hockey players failed against Finland for the first time in the third game against each other of the season, and after winning 5:2 at the tournament in Turku in November and 3:2 at the Swiss Games in Helsinki in December, today's duel did not go well for them at all. Defender Libor Zábranský jnójri hopes that on Sunday against Switzerland he will correct the impression of the 1:6 defeat and finish the Swedish Games successfully.
According to Finnish defender Jukurit Mikkeli, the first period gave the game its impetus. “When you lose 0:2 against the Finns, it's difficult. They scored two quick goals and it's hard to score against them. Such an experienced team, when they're in the lead, they take care of it. We were in a bit of a convulsion,” Zábranský told reporters after match in Malmö.
“You could see the grace in them while the pucks bounced off us. They even scored lucky goals, after a rebound from a defender. A stupid game, I'd say. There's nothing to do but grind it out, it's a short tournament, we have another game tomorrow and we have to start differently, ” said the son of assistant coach of the national team, Libor Zábranský.
At the same time, according to the twenty-two-year-old student of Kometa Brno, the beginning was not bad. “They have an experienced team. We knew it, they were preparing for it. We didn't start badly, but then we got two goals from overcounting and then we pushed it uphill,” said Zábranský. “It's not pleasant when you want to do something about it and they immediately score a goal. Unfortunately, that was the case, we didn't show what we wanted at all. And we got a well-deserved lesson for that,” he continued.
Stop the onrushing Finns the Czech team succeeded at least in the third period, which they started with at 0:6. “It's never pleasant, but that's hockey, there are also matches like that. It shouldn't happen in tournaments like this, but it's another experience. We told ourselves that we have to seize the third period and try to do something about it, start winning fights and at least take something positive from it. We partially succeeded in that,” stated Zábranský.
His father, alongside coach Kari Jalonen, suffered an equally heavy defeat 1:6 just last May in the semi-finals of the World Championship with Canada in Tampere. “Positives are very few and hard to find. But at least we won the third period 1-0. We have to bounce back from that somehow, it's an unpleasant result, but we have another match ahead of us. We have to look at it, we will have a meeting. We have to bounce back from the third period, which we won, and start completely differently tomorrow,” Zábranský added.