A thunderous atmosphere accompanied the bronze-medal game between Czech Republic U16 and USA Red. The fans of both teams pushed their boys towards the victory starting in the early moments, as both teams battled for every single ball and every single shot. The key moments of the first period were on the power plays. Both teams played twice with a one-man advantage and while the Americans attacks weren’t successful, the Czechs scored two goals. First, one of the Czech forwards hit the left post and Michal Machacek scored immediately on the rebound. Two minutes later, Jan Stromko fired at goalie Calvin O’Connell from the right side of the floor and made it 2–0.
Early in the second, the Czechs seemed to be in a better mood thanks to their two-goal lead and they created a few good chances. But it didn’t take long and the Americans levelled their play and pressed the home team in their own zone. Danny Cunningham got the ball into a good position and tried it from the left face-off circle but Matej Halouzek in the Czech goal made a quick pad save. Just a few seconds later, the home team scored on a breakaway. Jan Cejka sent the goalie down to the floor, made a clever move and tipped the ball in along his catching glove. The Americans respond to this moment five minutes before the break as Luke Malloy scored a power-play goal and made it 3–1 after the second.
The Czechs started the third period actively and tried to play as far from their own goal as possible. After almost five minutes they scored their fourth one. Jan Becka found his place in front of the goal crease and got the ball into the net after a quick pass from Machacek. The USA Red team didn’t give up and scored two goals within 20 seconds to make the final minutes more dramatic. Danny Cunningham and Rominic Leonard kept the American hopes alive.
The final minutes were very emotional, tough and full of hard hits. The USA Red rushed to tie the game but their shots ended either on the defenders, or in the gear of Halouzek. And when the Czech goalie made a big pad save with just one second left, the enormous bronze joy of the home team fully started. The Czechs won their last game of the tournament and got the bronze medals. The USA Red team on the other side finished fourth.
Czech U16 Coach: It was a very difficult and tough game - we have four seriously injured players. The guys put on a great performance. After yesterday, they got incredibly up. They’re a great bunch of guys.
USA Red Coach: The Czechs started very well, scored some goals, the balls seemed to go their way. The two goals were deflections off legs. In the third period we were better, we were trying to tie it. We didn’t do it and we’re disappointed, but now I have to congratulate them.