Stránský on the victory over the Finns: Great impulse, he must count with us |

Photo: Ronald Hansel, junior hockey

Five days before the start of the World Cup, the Czech national under-18 team regained their confidence by beating Finland 4-3 in the first of two pre-season matches in Karlovy Vary after the roundups. “All four attacks created interesting situations up front and played responsibly upside down, which is crucial for us,” assistant coach Darek Stránský said.

Czech Hockey Games 2022

Do you consider the victory as a good impetus until the last week of training?
As a good impulse in any case. It’s after the raids, it’s a preparation, but the impetus for the team that came together after a long time is great.

Were you satisfied with the service?
The tactical and other elements that we wanted to see were there. We were happy with that. Of course, there are always some parts of the game that you can’t be happy with, but we have to have respect for our opponents and we can be expected to push ourselves from time to time.

What did you particularly like and what didn’t you like?
All four attacks created interesting situations up front and played responsibly upside down, which is crucial for us. We sent four boys to the locker room for the third period and put in others, even those in a less comfortable position did not disappoint. These are positives. The negative? It’s the goal thirteen seconds from the end, which can cost us a success in the championship. If we had solved some situations better, we could have won the game in regular time.

Winning the Finns will help us on the psyche, I think the Poles

But the Finns are skillful, they had a number of breaks. For such an opponent, you also need a very good goalkeeper, who may be Jan Špunar…
Although he scored on the first shot, he was so perfectly placed that you can’t fault him. It didn’t bother him and the rest of the game was solid on his part. In raids, he got the first two goals after some things well done, but then he didn’t fold his guns and grabbed the rest. The goalkeeper gave an excellent performance, we can’t do without it.

It’s only a preparation, but we all know that you can meet the Finns very realistically in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Maybe that’s why victory is heating up a little more?
The Finns have had a clear balance with us this season so far. It’s such a message for them – and doubly so for us in the dressing room – that it is possible. I’m not saying we dominated the game, but we didn’t play it badly at all. Fini perhaps sees that we have to be counted on.

Great game for me, say the Czechs after the Finns

What did you spend the training initiation week in Karlovy Vary doing?
I will come back to the three-week training camp in Zlín, which did not serve our purpose at all. The first week was only eight people, the boys were still playing in clubs. When most of the team was to join us, we were affected by various health issues. We had the idea that when we left for Slovakia we would be more compact and have a bit of a formed system, but instead we went there broken and incomplete. It marked the matches a bit.

Didn’t you have similar problems now?
This week we were almost full, only Tomáš Hamara only arrived on Sunday and Matyáš Šapovaliv on Monday. We could already refine things without which we cannot move. It’s a system and a responsible game upside down, provided that you want to be dangerous from the quick counter-attacks and generally in the offensive zone. We’re all happy that some aspects of the game have already been seen there.

Stránský at eighteen: we feel a healthy tension

The World Cup starts on Saturday. Do you feel tension among the players?
I’m not saying it’s completely quiet. Just because all the boys know doesn’t mean there’s more than enough. Some boys are probably more emotionally confident that they will step into the nomination. In general, I would say it’s such a healthy tension, a good tension in the team.

Are you going to deploy a composition that will be close to Wednesday’s tournament against Latvia, or are you still going to try the players a lot? And will you announce the final nomination right after the game?
The boys who are on the edge will definitely play, so we can be absolutely sure. In the last game, they have the opportunity to remove the question marks and confirm or refute our assumptions. This already indicates that it will be more of a contest for the nomination. We will leave some of the boys we believe free and let the others play. Like Matthias, who has come and must come in, let him get there. It will be such a contemplation match and after the match we will announce which boys will not go.

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