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U.S. Hockey Drops 4-1 Semifinal Match To Czech Republic

Jan. 3, 2000

SKEFFELTEA, Sweden – The Czech Republic exploited several United States defensive lapses to post a 4-1 victory in semi-final action Monday at the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship.

“We saw a videotape of the (quarterfinal) match between Sweden and the United States,” Czech Republic coach Radim Rulik said. “Then we plotted our strategy, which worked 100 percent.”

The Czechs will face Russia in Tuesday’s final (7:00 p.m. Sweden time) while the U.S. will meet Canada–which lost 3-2 to Russia–in Tuesday’s early bronze-medal game, providing a rematch from the team’s 1-1 tie on New Year’s Eve. The third-place game will begun at 2:00 p.m. local time (8:00 a.m. EST) and will be shown live by Canada’s national cable station, TSN. A real-audio broadcast link can be found at the TSN website (

Notre Dame freshman Connor Dunlop won nine of his 13 faceoffs in Monday’s game while putting one shot goal and finishing with a -3 plus-minus ratio. Irish sophomore Brett Henning won one of his three faceoffs while his classmate David Inman was whistled for a charging penalty early in the third period.

Team USA, which routed Sweden 5-1 in the quarterfinals, played without head coach Jeff Jackson, who had to leave Sweden on Sunday after his mother, Katherine, was hospitalized in Michigan.

The Czechs shocked the U.S. with a goal just 1:32 into the game, as Pittsburgh Penguins prospect and fourth-line winger Milan Kraft set up a goal by fourth-line center Michal Sivek.

The U.S. then repeatedly committed position slip-ups in the defensive area for 72 decisive seconds in the middle of the second period, as second-line winger Zbynek Irgl scored at 12:51 (assisted by first-line winger Libor Pivko) and Kraft followed with a goal just over a minute later (with Sivek picking up the assist).

Zdenek Smid stopped 24 U.S. Shots in the game, including 12 in the pivotal second period.

Boston University winger Daniel Cavanaugh put the U.S. on the board midway through the third period, with an assist from Minnesota center Jeff Taffe (8:07).

Kraft registered his third point of the game with 24 seconds left to play, setting up a goal by fourth-line winger Jaroslav Kristek.

In other action, Bjorn Christen scored two goals as Switzerland upset Finland 5-2 in the consolation series, earning the right to face Sweden for the fifth spot on Tuesday.

Kenneth Bergqvist had three goals and Niklas Kronwall and Jimmie Olvestad two each as Sweden routed Kazakstan 12-2 in the consolation series.

Kazakstan plays Finland for seventh spot.

(from Sweden, following Jan. 3 game versus Czech Republic)

  • “Things have been going real well, aside from today’s loss. We have played real well and have done better than many people thought we would do.
  • Today was a tough loss. The Czechs played a defensive style and sort of lulled us to death. Overall, we have played well defensively and have gotten the offense when we needed it.
  • The win over Sweden was a really exciting game. It was a sold-out crowd and they were one of the tournament favorites. It was great to have that big of a win against the host country. We had been building for a win like that.
  • On my goal (giving the U.S. a 3-1 lead over Sweden), I won a faceoff and played it back to my defenseman partner. He pushed it forward and it squirted loose in the slot and then I shot it between the goaltender’s legs. ? The Canada game also was real exciting and was shown on national TV in Canada. We played well and out goaltender had a great game. We got a big goal from Jeff (Taffe) to tie the game in the third period. We played terribly in the first period but–once we saw that we could play with them–we went out and totally dominated in the third period.
  • The tournament has been pretty similar to my past experiences with USA Hockey, but on a bigger scale throughout the world. And now we have the chance to win a medal, which is a great accomplishment.
  • My role with the team began with a lot of penalty killing and faceoffs. As the tournament has gone on, I have played in more offensive situations and have had some good chances.
  • Everyone has begun to notice that Notre Dame is producing players for this tournament. It helps to have three Notre Dame guys in this tournament and the Notre Dame program really has made a name for itself in the last couple of years.
  • The coaches have been good about letting us see the cities, but it’s an interesting place. There’s only four hours of daylight a day. Right now, we’re just focusing on trying to win the bronze medal. It’s going to be a great game, no matter who we play.
  • Brett has done a good job as the fourth-line center and Dave has moved back and forth on several lines. It’s been an added challenge for him, because everyone else on the team has been through the U.S. program and has more experience with the systems that we run. But Dave’s been a great team player and taken it all in stride.
  • It was sort of hard to go from our college teams and be thrown into another situation for three weeks. But in a tournament like this, every game means so much and the players on all the teams are unbelievable. It’s been tough, but at the same time it’s been kind of a good break. It’s events like this that make you realize why you play the game and how much fun it really is.
  • I’m real excited about getting back to Notre Dame. The team has been struggling a bit lately and hopefully we can get some wins and start working our way up the standings.”


  • The U.S. forward lines on Monday included the following: Michigan State’s Adam Hall-Michigan C Andy Hilbert-Harvard ‘s Brett Nowak
  • BU’s John Sabo-Henning- New Hampshire’s Pat Foley
  • Cavanaugh-Taffe-Maine’s Barrett Heisten
  • Northeastern’s Willie Levesque-Dunlop- Wisconsin’s Brad Winchester
  • the defensive pairings included: Boston College’s Brooks Orpik and Michigan’s Jeff Jillson, Maine’s Doug Janik and Colorado College’s Mike Stuart, and Minnesota’s Jordan Leopold and BU’s Pat Aufiero
  • the team’s last two players included Inman and BU defenseman Ron Hainsey
  • Dunlop’s tournament stats include 58 of 92 faceoffs won (63 percent), three penalties, eight shots on goal and a -2 plus-minus ratio
  • Henning has won 14 of his 36 faceoffs in the tournament (39 percent)
  • Inman’s tournament stats include two penalties and six shots on goal
  • BU’s Rich DiPietro’s solid showing in the tournament includes a 1.81 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in 299 minutes
  • the U.S. power play is hitting at 14.3 percent in the tournament (4-for-28) while the U.S. penalty kill owns an 88.6 percentage (31-of-35).

USA               0      0      1    -    1Czech Republic    1      2      1    -    4

1st Period – CR 1. Michal Sivek (Milan Kraft) 1:32.

2nd Period – CR 2. Zbynek Irgl (Libor Pivko) 12:51, CR 3. Milan Kraft (Michal Sivek) 14:03.
3rd Period – US 1. Daniel Cavanaugh (Jeff Taffe) 8:07, CR 4. Jaroslav Kristek (Milan Kraft) 19:36.

Shots: US 4-12-9/25, CR 4-8-9/21.
Saves: US, DiPietro (3-6-8/17), CR, Zdenek Smid (4-12-8/24).
Power Play: US 0-for-2, CR 0-for-2.
Penatlies: US 2 for 4:00, CR 2 for 4:00.