2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup round robin action concluded on August 28th with a Pool B matchup between Team NAHL, representing USA, and Ocelari Trinec from Czech Republic. The latter had a slim chance of making it to the semifinal, while all Americans had to do was gain a single point.
Patrik Švančara made his debut between the pipes for Ocelari, while Mattias Sholl got the nod again for Team NAHL. First few minutes of the game featured fast-paced hockey with scoring chances at both ends of the ice. Seven minutes into the period Czech Republic got a penalty as Vojtech Šulak was sent to the box. USA managed to light it up behind Švančara but the goal was waved off after a long video review as the puck never crossed the line.
Second period began with a couple of off-setting minors - Killian Kiecker-Olson and Šimon Jenáček were sent to the box. Team NAHL scored another one in 4-on-4 situation but once again it was waved off – this time the puck entered the net after it had been dislodged. Soon after that Austin Jouppi got a minor and Ocelari opened up the scoring. Maxim Mastic sniped it top-shelf for his first of the tournament.
Midway through the period Czech Republic doubled their lead – Marek Havranek had the quickest hands in the slot and managed to shove the puck into the net. Ocelari still needed to score eight more goals to make it to the semifinal round but their success was very much appreciated by Red Bull, who needed Trinec defeat Team NAHL by a margin of less than 10 goals to secure the semfinal berth.
Matous Cmiel’s penalty almost turned into a nightmare for Americans as Havranek broke loose and almost beat Sholl on a rendezvous but the latter came out on top.
Team NAHL began the third stanza shorthanded but just as Jouppi and Jake Beaune stepped back onto the ice, Americans stormed Švančara’s net. USA had trouble setting camp in the offensive territory for some time. They had a great chance to get on the board when Filip Krzak got a minor for holding. Švančara stood on his head and made a few huge saves for his team.
Jakub Michalek seemed to have scored from the high slot but the referees let the play continue. However, video review confirmed that the puck actually went in and that gave Ocelari a late 3-0 lead. John Jaworski finally solved Švančara a few minutes later and then Kiecker-Olson made it a 1-goal game but that’s as close as they could get.
With this 3-2 win Trinec tie Team NAHL and Red Bull in points but Austrian team clinched semifinal berth on goal differential.
“It was a hard-working game. Both teams knew what was at stake. We had to finish 3rd in the group, while Americans wanted to get to the semifinal,” said Ocelari Trinec assistant coach Marek Malik. “So it was a very difficult game. Unfortunately, even this result doesn’t let us compete in the semifinal. We would have gotten there, had we scored 10 goals? We weren’t thinking about the semifinal during the game. We focused on trying to get to the 5th place game. I think, we could have scored four goals. We probably could have scored on the empty net but 10 goals is too much. This is out of the question now. I’ve had a lot of games like this in the NHL. This should be a lesson for our players. It should give them a push in the right direction. Why did Patrik Švančara play tonight? One of our goals was to see all of our three goaltenders in action. Tonight was his turn. He was happy to play and he did great. He really helped us tonight.”
“I knew before the tournament that this is the game I would play so I was getting ready for it,” said Ocelari Trinec goaltender Patrik Švančara. “It was probably one of the best games of my career. I’m happy to help my team. We believed that we would beat Americans tonight. We knew we had to do everything possible to get to the 5th place game. Semifinal? That’s something fantastic. We had to win the game by unreal margin to get there. Among world class goaltenders, I like Sergei Bobrovsky and the way he plays. If I had a chance to have a dinner with him, I would ask him about early days of his career and how he prepares for the games now. I would try to find out his secrets so to speak.”
“We have several opportunities early in the game but after we didn’t score, our team got frustrated,” said Team NAHL assistant coach Rocky Russo. “We came here to play at least in the playoffs. Tonight we had a great chance to make the semifinal and continue our quest for the gold. We’re frustrated we wasted the opportunity. Opponent’s goaltender was unbelievable and made several huge saves. Besides, we hit the post too often and had two of our goals waved off. When we scored the second goal we had to do everything we could to stuff it in one more time. We skated in the offensive end and created several chances but the puck went into the corner following one shot and we couldn’t set up another shot after it. I’m going to be very surprised if Kärpät and Loko won’t play in the final game. Those teams were great in round robin. This is the final I want to see at the World Cup. I want to watch them go up against each other with my own eyes.”
2019 Sirius Junior Club World Cup
August 28th. Sochi, Russia. Shayba Ice Arena
Round robin. Group В
Oceari Trinec (Czech Republic) – Team NAHL (USA) – 3-2 (0-0, 2-0, 1-2)
1-0 – Mastic (Jenacek) – 25-11 PPG
2-0 – Havranek (Przybyla) – 30-06
3-0 – Michalek (Konecny) – 55-10
3-1 – Jaworski (Lajoie, Murray) – 56-54
3-2 – Kiecker-Olson (Unassisted) – 58-28 PPG
Goaltenders: Švančara - Sholl