Yesterday's match up saw Tomas Plekanec face off against Lars Eller, and the Danes came out on top in a tightly contested and exciting match.
The first period was fairly uneventful until about the ten minute mark, when Roman Cervenka and David Pastrnak came in on the two on one, and Daniel Nielsen came back and made an incredible stick save on Cervenka, after Sebastian Dahm found himself way out of the crease playing Pastrnak.
Jannik Hansen and Nikolaj Ehlers had a botched chance, followed by an Eller pass to Hansen that Dominik Furch played away with no trouble.
Several minutes later, Plekanec's line had a few good chances, followed up by a a charge the other way, led by Eller, which was followed by some very strong zone time. Hansen made a point blank shot on a pass from Eller that again Furch warded off, but the pressure led to a Czech icing call. Although Denmark pressed their advantage, it was in vain.
In the dying seconds of the first period, the Czech Republic put on a shooting clinic, and Oliver Lauridsen came up huge with two big blocked shots, before then Dahm absolutely robbed Plekanec point blank as the period ended. The shots, however, were very much in favour of the Czech Republic, 9-2 after one.
The second period opened with a big block on Cervenka by a sliding Markus Lauridsen, who has looked better and better since coming in for the injured Jesper Jensen.
The Eller, Ehlers, Hansen line continued to look excellent, even hard matched against the number one Czech Republic line of Plekanec, Pastrnak, and Cervenka. However it would be Plekanec who opened up the scoring, making no mistake on a huge rebound into the wide open net.
The Czech Republic put up ten shots through the first seven minutes of the second, but they would take the first penalty of the game at the ten minute mark, as Michal Repik was called for boarding on Morten Poulsen, and given an additional ten minute misconduct. They followed that up less than six seconds later with a hooking penalty to Robert Kousal against Ehlers. Despite getting nearly a minute forty on the power play, the Danes were unable to capitalize on any of their chances - of which there were several. Ehlers had a good slap shot chance, as did Eller, and Mads Christensen had a few good chances as well.
With 5:23 left in the period, Denmark took their first - and surprisingly only - penalty, holding on defenceman Nicholas Jensen (not to be confused with forward Nicklas Jensen). Dahm made a few key saves, and the penalty was killed off without any further trouble.
Denmark had some really authoritative zone time with about two minutes remaining in the period, and Plekanec answered by nearly having his second of the game on a give and go from Pastrnak, Shots were a lopsided 27-10 for the Czech Republic.
Barely more than two minutes into the third period, the Czech Republic was called for too many men, and this time the Danish power play delivered. Morten Madsen jammed home Frederik Storm's rebound to tie the game up at one.
Eller, Ehlers and Hansen continued to have really great chances, causing turnovers and generally keeping the Plekanec line running around their own zone, as the momentum frequently went in favour of the Danes. With a little less than eight remaining, Pastrnak was sent off for high sticking, but there would be no change in scoring.
The remainder of regulation went back and forth, as the teams exchanged icings, and scoring chances, until Lukas Kaspar had a really dangerous chance as the period died. Dahm shut the door again, however, and the game went to extra time.
Overtime solved nothing, but provided the fans with a fast paced and exciting extra five minutes. Ehlers had a huge shot on Furch, followed immediately afterwards by a Plekanec shot on Dahm, who made a nearly identical save. Both goalies made several more big saves, and the five minutes came to a quick end.
Eller scores in the shootout for Denmark pic.twitter.com/91F2Tyxh5E— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) May 15, 2016
In the shoot out, Eller completely faked out Furch, Kaspar got Dahm five hole, Ehlers scored on the same move he tried the game before, and Nicklas Jensen iced the game on the exact same move as Eller.
Over all, it was a really excellent game, that definitely did not feel as lopsided as the 41-21 shot total showed in the Czech Republic's favour. Both teams had their share of quality scoring chances, and the pace of the game never flagged. Also impressive was Denmark's singular penalty, as they had perviously racked up at least five (usually more) per game up until that point.
Quick question, if Winnipeg drafts Patrik Laine, do you think they'll notice if we smuggle Ehlers to Montreal with Eller at the end of the tournament? Joking aside, it's been a lot of fun watching Eller and Ehlers play together. They gelled almost right away, and have looked really good together all tournament, especially in the passing and playmaking department.
This was a huge win for Denmark, especially coming as it did against the previously undefeated Czech Republic, because it allowed them to keep pace with Switzerland for the last quarterfinal spot. Denmark will look for a win against Kazakhstan later today, and hope that the Czech Republic can help them out by beating Switzerland on Tuesday.