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Czechia defeats Korea to open Para Hockey World Championship

Pair of second-period goals pace Czechia to 3-0 victory as event begins at Moose Jaw Events Centre

For Team Czechia, there were some issues involving their luggage arriving in Moose Jaw after their international flight for the World Para Hockey Championship.

Unfortunately, the team was only able to have one practice at the Moose Jaw Events Centre before taking on Korea in the tournament’s opening game on Sunday morning.

So how did they do?

A total of six shots were allowed, no goals and a 3-0 shutout win kicked-off the hockey championship event in style.

“I think this result after the last two days and what we went through is super critical for us, stepping over these problems and focussing on our game and this was the result,” said Czechia head coach Jakub Novotny.

“We knew this game would be pretty hard because Korea is a tough opponent. We had a good season this year and we knew our guys had gotten better and were ready for this game and this moment…It’s a big victory for us in the preliminary round but we’ll see what happens next.”

After a scoreless first period, Patrik Sedlacek made history with the first World Para Hockey Championship goal scored on Canadian soil, with his marker coming on the power play at 9:52 of the second frame.

Just over a minute later, it was 2-0, as Vaclav Hecko picked up the puck in the high slot and put a shot top corner glove side.

Czechia then closed out scoring with 2:44 to play in the game, with Michal Geier making it a 3-0 final.

Czechia goaltender Martin Kudela didn’t have a busy morning with his six-save shutout, and given the result, that was just fine.

“I think the first game was great because we win, that’s good,” Kudela said. “As we expected it was a hard game, Korea didn’t make it easy. It’s very important for our spirit, it’ll boost up us all and it’s very important to us. The next game against the U.S.A. will be tough but we’ll do our best.”

For Korea’s part, the loss was tough to take, but one they’ll look to rebound from in their next outing.

“It was a very tough game, it was the first tournament game and we didn’t get enough shots and didn’t have enough speed, but we’ll prepare for the next game and the next step,” said Korea coach Kim Tae Ho.

Veteran goaltender Choi Hyuk Jun turned in a solid showing despite the loss with 32 saves, including a handful of big stops to keep things close.

He said through a translator that regardless of the number of goals, the team will be looking to perform better and they’ll be looking to get back to basics in their next outing.

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