April 13 - The Czech Republic have set the early pace at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships in Goyang, South Korea, with an impressive 3-1 win over Norway.
In an event serving as a qualifier for Sochi 2014, the Czechs proved their class with two early goals by forward Jiri Raul and one from David Palat giving new head coach Jiri Briza as fine start in his World Championship debut at the helm.
Czech captain Zdenek Safranek said his team are focusing on a podium finish in South Korea and at Sochi 2014, after finishing fifth at Vancouver 2010.
"It is our goal to finish in the top five in Goyang and qualify for Sochi and if we get to the bronze or gold-medal game here that will be an extra bonus," he said.
"This is a good start."
Russia also put down a strong marker as they secured a 2-1 win against host nation South Korea with goals from Dmitry Lisov and Evgeny Petrov giving them a win as Seung-Hwan Jung's goal in the final stages proving to be too little, too late.
"Korea are a very high-level team that's become very strong and have played very well together lately," said Russia's playmaker Konstantin Shikhov.
"They showed that they're just as fast as anyone out there.
"But our goal is to win and only to win here and we're ready to win from both the physical and emotional point of view."
Elsewhere, Canada cruise to a 5-0 win over Italy while defending Paralympic and World Champions the United States came out firing on all cylinders to crush Sweden 7-0.
The top five finishers from the Championships will automatically qualify for Sochi 2014.
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