Illustration photo – Training of the Czech hockey team in Daugava Arena, May 22, 2023, Riga.
Tampere (Finland) – Today, the Czech hockey players moved from Riga to the quarter-finals of the World Championship in Tampere, where last year they celebrated winning the first medal at a major event in ten years. In Nokia Arena, in a repeat of the successful battle for bronze, they will face the USA on Thursday, who have not yet found a winner at the championship. The match will start at 15:20 CEST. The winner will advance to Saturday's semifinals, where they will be paired according to the best-worst and the second-best and third-best standings in the regular season.
The Czech team, which finished fourth in the basic group after three defeats out of seven matches, flew to Tampere this morning by special train. He completed the three-quarter-hour flight together with the Canadian team. From 16:00 SELČ will train in Nokia Arena.
“The United States of America is a very good team that is undefeated in the tournament,” said coach Kari Jalonen. The Americans started the tournament with a 4-1 win over Finland before defeating Hungary (7-1), Germany (3-2), Austria (4-1), Denmark (3-0), France (9-0) and Sweden ( 4:3 in overtime).
The most productive player on coach David Quinn's team, who trains in NHL San Jose, is T.J. Tynan with 10 points per goal and nine assists. He is second behind Dominik Kubalík, who has 12 points. Thirty-one-year-old Tynan played only 31 games in the NHL in his career and spent the entire season on the Los Angeles farm.
Even the other leader of the Americans in the tournament is not a star. Nineteen-year-old Cutter Gauthier, who was selected by Philadelphia as the fifth pick in the draft last year, is working at Boston College. During his debut in the USA national team, he already scored six goals at the World Cup and is also second among scorers behind Kubalík, who scored eight goals. The main personality of the team is Pittsburgh forward Nick Bonino, who won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
Last year in Tampere, Jalonen's team faced the USA twice and succeeded each time. He won 1:0 in the group and won 8:4 in the duel for bronze. At least a dozen veterans of last year's championship took part in at least one of the matches. Karel Vejmelka picked up a goal in the first, in the duel for 3rd place he was replaced by Marek Langhamer from the second period at 1:3. Back Michal Kempný, Tomáš Kundrátek, Michal Jordán and forwards Roman Červenka, Jiří Černoch, Jakub Flek and Jiří Smejkal were also present, and at the end of the last match, Michael Špaček was also present. On the American side, only Tynan remembers last year's fights.