The Czech under-20 hockey players successfully started the world championships, when they scored their first win and three points in the opening match against Slovakia.
After years, coach Radim Rulík returned to the bench of the junior team victoriously, even though he experienced a mild but expected shock when transitioning from senior hockey. “Over the years, I’ve gotten used to it a bit, even though sometimes things happen in the extra league as well. It’s not easy for me, I say that openly. Everyone realized that the first match must be won in order to calm down a bit and get the first points on the table.” said the captain of the national team for Hokej.cz.
In various parts of the game, he had to experience heart attacks, in the end even a full point gain was not enough after the result of 5:4 for overall satisfaction. “It’s beautiful that we won. But for me there is a stain on the victory. The conclusion didn’t work out at all, my colleagues and I imagine that in a completely different way,” he stated.
Radim Rulík’s team had a slower start to the match compared to Slovakia. They lost by two goals after the first period, despite outshooting the opponent 16:6. In the second period, the Czech juniors changed their tactics, were more active and instead of defending the middle zone, they pushed the players from under the Tatras. Before going to the locker room, they managed not only to equalize, but also to turn the state of the game in their favor.
Although they increased the score to 4:2 in the first half of the third period, less than ten minutes before the end of the match, a twist occurred, more precisely a disruption of discipline, when a series of four Czech expulsions followed. Ivan Feneš’s men took advantage of the opportunity and equalized the score.
“What happened must not happen. We appealed to the players, but this is usually the case in this category. The opponent wanted to provoke us, but that does not excuse us. At that moment, we were playing for our own egos and didn’t think about the benefit of the team at all, which immediately backfired on us. Like we’re crazy. There were things that hockey punishes,” Radim Rulík evaluated his team’s loss of knowledge.
In the end, the hero of the match was the Czech forward Gabriel Szturc, who decided with the last goal less than two minutes before the end of the duel. “We can be happy that we went for the win even at 4:4. In the end, we won three points, for which we are happy. But we have to learn. I would like it if we presented ourselves with more mature and tactical hockey,” he added towards the upcoming matches.
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