Czech Republic shuts out Switzerland 2-0 to win hockey world championship

It was the seventh title won by the Czech Republic after the country was created in 1993
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Sweden’s Carl Grundstrom, left, celebrates with Sweden’s Adrian Kempe after scoring his sides third goal during the bronze medal match between Sweden and Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, May 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

David Pastrnak and David Kampf scored as the Czech Republic shut out Switzerland 2-0 to win the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

Boston Bruins forward Pastrnak broke the deadlock with 10:47 remaining in the final period, prompting the sold-out Prague Arena to erupt in wild celebration.

Pastrnak one-timed from his usual place in the left circle past goaltender Leonardo Genoni after being fed by defenseman Tomas Kundratek from the blue line.

“I’m proud and happy for sure,” Pastrnak said. “I’m happy we’ve made it. We’ve been waiting so long for the gold medal. It couldn’t come at a better moment than at home, for us and the fans in the stands who created an unbelievable atmosphere.”

Pastrnak scored his first goal at the tournament and Kampf added the second into an empty net with 19 seconds left when the Swiss pulled Genoni for an extra attacker.

Czech goaltender Lukas Dostal stopped 31 shots for the shutout.

“It’s an unreal feeling, I’m speechless, it’s unbelievable, I’m proud of us all,” said Dostal, who also shut out the United States in a 1-0 victory in the quarterfinals.

“It’s my job, of course, I don’t care how we win, the most important thing is the victory. It’s a playoff hockey and details decide it. Today the detail was that Pasta (Pastrnak) scored, that was the decisive moment,” the Anaheim Ducks goaltender said.

It was the seventh title won by the Czech Republic — or Czechia — after the country was created in 1993 following the breakup of Czechoslovakia and the first since 2010.

Czechoslovakia won six titles.

The final was only the fourth game at the tournament for Pastrnak and his teammate Pavel Zacha who joined the team after the Bruins were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.

Genoni made 30 saves.

Switzerland is yet to win the title and recorded a runner-up finish for the fourth time. The previous three came in 1935, 2013 and 2018. They came close in 2018, losing to Sweden 3-2 in a shootout.

“Silver is silver and gold is gold, and we didn’t get gold, so it always hurts,” the 40-year-old Swiss forward Andres Ambuhl said.

In the preliminary stage, Switzerland beat the Czechs 2-1 in a shootout and finished second in Group A behind Canada and a point ahead of the Czechs.

Backed by the home crowd, the Czechs went on the attack, outshooting the Swiss 23-17 in the first two periods but only hit the post (Dominik Kubalik) and the bar (Kampf) in the second period.

SWEDEN GETS BRONZE

Carl Grundstrom scored twice to rally Sweden to a 4-2 victory over Canada and a bronze medal.

Grundstrom netted his second goal with 6:18 left in the final period with a shot from the left boards to put Sweden ahead 3-2.

Star defenseman Erik Karlsson also scored with Marcus Johansson adding an empty net goal. Goaltender Filip Gustavsson made 20 saves.

It’s the first podium for Sweden since winning the second of its back-to-back titles in 2018, when it beat Switzerland in the final.

“I’m proud of the way we bounced back from yesterday (losing to the Czech Republic),” said Sweden’s Victor Hedman, another star defenseman. “It’s a quick turnaround to play five games in seven days,” he said. “You lose one of the 10 games usually you’re in a pretty good shape but we lost the wrong one.”

Canada last played a bronze medal game in 2018 and lost to the United States 4-1. Since then, the Canadians won the trophy twice and finished runner-up twice with the 2020 edition canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tournament top scorer Dylan Cozens got his ninth goal and Pierre-Luc Dubois added another for Canada, the 28-time champion which finishes empty handed.

Canada didn’t meet its goal to take home the gold but captain John Tavares said he had no regrets coming.

“It was really special for me to have this opportunity to be the captain and come to represent Canada, something I didn’t take lightly and really wanted to make most of it,” Tavares said.

“The guys competed hard, we just didn’t execute well enough to get the job done.”

Karel Janicek, The Associated Press