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Czech Republic beats Canada in brawl-filled game

May 7, 1997 GMT

HELSINKI, Finland (AP) _ The Czech Republic beat Canada 5-3 Wednesday at the World Hockey Championships in game marked by a brawl which resulted in the suspension of eight players.

One of those suspended was Vladimir Vujtek who had three goals and an assist for the Czech Republic. The loss damaged Canada’s chances of reaching finals.

The fight took place with two minutes remaining in the game. It took ten minutes for the play to resume as four players from each side received major fighting and game misconduct penalties.

Later, the eight were suspended, including Canadians Rob Blake of the Los Angeles Kings, Travis Green of the New York Islanders and Owen Nolan and Shean Donovan of the San Jose Sharks.

In addition to Vujtek, the Czech players suspended were Libor Prochazka, Robert Lang and Jiri Slegr. They will miss Thursday’s game against Sweden.

With one more round to be played in the six-team medal pool, both Canada and the Czech Republic have four points. But with the victory, the Czechs have an advantage in the standings.

``The Czechs had a good game plan and made it very difficult for us,″ said Canada’s coach, Andy Murray. ``I’m not happy with our efforts. In order to beat the defending champions, one has to play much better.″

Czech coach Slavomir Lener said: ``With the two points, we are still alive.″

Both coaches accused the other of instigating the fight. The Canadians accused the Czechs of rough play.

``There is not a guy in there (dressing room) that doesn’t have an ice bag on him because of slashes and sticks,″ said Keith Primeau.

Canada got its first goal when Jiri Vykoukal scored into his own net at 2:34 of the first period. The goal was credited to Rob Zamuner, who last had the puck.

Zamuner had another goal, and Don Sweeney also scored for the Canadians.