The Americans got the start they wanted, jumping to 1-0 at 12:03 with a bit of good luck. The improperly clear ball bounced off the side panels and the puck bounced off the standoff instead of rolling behind the net, as goalkeeper Thomas Suchanek was.
Matt Coronato reached the disc first and fired quickly, but Suchanik returned to fetch his wand on the disc. It came straight to Logan Cole, and he hit it in the open net to score his second goal of the tournament.
The Czechs weren’t so lucky to score at first, although Tomas Orban fired a powerful shot off the post, which remained outside.
The United States continued to take the puck to its opponents, but the Czechs did not panic and played disciplined hockey inside their streak. They didn’t test Mbereko much, but tied it at 17:55. The play began in the corner when Kulich returned with a puck fight to the point. Jerry Tschak’s long shot forward was expertly directed by captain Jan Misak, making it a 1-1 swing.
It was the Czechs who came out and dominated the second period, in which the Americans seemed decidedly uncharacteristically lost and uncharacteristic. Sochanek was solid but not tested much, and the Czechs had far more chances than the two goals they scored.
They first took the lead at 7:34 in a simple play. Peter Hauser made a small side pass to Ivan Evan, and allowed him to walk into the confrontational circle as he fired a wicked shot from and into the far post. They built their lead three minutes later on a bad mistake from Mbereko. Matias Sapovalev’s routine shot passed through the goalkeeper’s equipment and went over the line, giving the Czechs more confidence and settling the American mood.
Things went from bad to worse in the third. Less than three minutes later, Brett Berard was evaluated with five minutes and a big foot game. But the Americans subtly killed it and then had a solid five-minute game when Svozil Koli hit his knee at the blue line in the Czech Republic.
The US certainly benefited from a scramble up front, as Carter Mazur hoisted the disc over sprawling Sushank at 11:31 to make it a one-goal game. But the Czechs managed to contain the damage to that target thanks to Sochanek, who stole Mazur moments after getting close.
Mbereko went to the bench with 1:40 left and won at the end of the Czech Republic, but the giveaway allowed Kulich to steal the puck and score an empty goal to seal victory.
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