U15 Team Earns Top Spot, Wins Youth Hockey National Championship
The top six youth hockey teams in the Czech Republic competed for the country’s national championship over the weekend. A winner was determined by way of a round-robin tournament, and the team with the most points in the standings was awarded the title.
Bili Tygri Liberec took the top spot in the U15 age group (2007 birth year) by winning four of five games in regulation to clinch the No. 1 spot in the standings. Marek Štástka scored the game-winning goal in Liberec’s first win of the tournament — a 5-4 decision over Plzen. It was Štástka’s first of three goals on the weekend, but far from the last of Bili Tygri’s late-game heroics.
Matěj Bajer and Adrien Bartovič each scored third-period goals against Slavia Praha to help Liberec win 3-2, its second consecutive one-goal game. Close games would catch up to the eventual champion, though, as Třinec upended Liberec 4-3 on Saturday.
That set the stage for an intense matchup on Sunday between No. 1 and No. 2, which essentially served as the championship game despite both Liberec and Mlada Boleslav both having games left to be played.
David Rozsíval opened the scoring and Bartovič recorded a pair of goals to put Liberec out with a 3-0 lead. Two goals in a 10-minute span by Boleslav would close the gap significantly before Bajer and Štástka scored goals in the final minute of regulation to clinch a 5-3 victory.
That win made Monday’s matchup with Kometa Brno a non-factor, having clinched first place. However, a 6-1 win on the final day put the exclamation point on a monumental weekend and championship season for Liberec.
Bartovič led all scorers in the tournament with eight goals and 12 points. His teammate Rozsíval finished close behind with four goals and 11 points. Goaltender Daniela Nováková stopped 96-of-105 shots on goal for a tournament-high 91.43 save percentage and a 2-1-0 record despite Slavia Praha finishing fifth in the standings. Teammate Matouš Kucharčík had one of the most impressive single-game performances of the tournament with a four-goal, six-point display in Slavia Praha’s 8-3 win over Plzen as well. He finished second in points with 10 total.
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