International Ice Hockey Federation

Slovakia wins 4-3 in shootout

Slovakia wins 4-3 in shootout

Dano nets game winning shot

Published 02.05.2015 15:39 GMT+2 | Author John Sanful
Slovakia wins 4-3 in shootout
OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 2: Denmark's Patrick Bjorkstrand #11 and Jesper Jensen #40 battle for the puck with Slovakia's Mario Bliznak #55 during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Third period offensive show saw both teams score five goals in the final twelve minutes.

Slovakia prevailed over Denmark 4-3 in shootout of a frenzied opening Preliminary Round game for both teams at the 2015 IIHF World Championships in Ostrava. Goals by Marek Viedensky and Marko Dano proved the difference.

For over 40 minutes Slovakia couldn’t find the back of the Danish net. A wild third period where both teams traded goals back and forth ensued before the matter was finally settled with a shootout. 

Today at CEZ Arena Danish goaltender Patrick Galbraith put on a clinic for two periods but could not stop the Slovakia wave as they tallied three late goals in the third period. Not to be outdone, Denmark matched their efforts in taking the game to overtime and then the shootout.

"I think it's a bit disappointing." said Julian Jakobsen. "We played a really good game got a little passive maybe in the third they got a couple quick goals turned around. But for the team, for us it's a big step to see that we can come back against a top eight nation like Slovakia with so many big players."

If Denmark was hoping for the same result when these two teams met in 2010 at the World Championships in Germany, it was not to be. Staked to a six goal first period, Denmark beat Slovakia with a convincing 6-0 win that year. Instead, this was close from beginning until its wild finish.

There was a near capacity crowd of Slovakia fans in attendance who made the trip to watch their team. Every chance they got, fans vocally supported their side and each good play was cheered. Early in the first period a slap shot by forward Jesper Jensen was gloved by starting goaltender Jan Laco, earning loud approval from the crowd.

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Both teams played to a closely contested first period. There were very few mistakes for either team to capitalize on and the scoring chances were kept to a minimum. Denmark outshot Slovakia 7-3 in the period.

"We were a bit tense at the start of the game, somehow we couldn't get started and I could see that our guys were nervous." Said head coach Vladimir Vujtek.

Denmark made it 1-0 with a power play goal from Patrick Bjorkstrand. Jesper Jensen’s shot in the left faceoff circle side of the Slovakia net was redirected by Bjorkstrand past Laco on the stick side. Jesper B. Jensen picked up the second assist. 

With 18 shots in the second period, Slovakia’s offence finally got going but still wasn’t able to get the biscuit past Galbraith. In the period Libor Hudacek led the way with three shots on goal.

Slovakia put the most pressure on when Kirill Starkov was called for high sticking. Slovakia kept the puck in the Denmark zone for nearly the entire two minutes with Patrik Lusnak, Milan Bartovic and Andrej Meszaros getting the best high percentage scoring chances during that time.

"After their goal in the second period we started to play better," said Vujtek. "I think we played some very good hockey from then until the end of the game. We had a lot of chances." 

The third period Slovakia put together a sustained attack that produced several near misses over the first five minutes. They set wave upon wave of pressure in trying to get a goal. When they did it was like a huge sigh of relief for the team and the fans who’d spend two thirds of the game waiting for one.

That goal came when Morten Madsen was called for elbowing at 13:03 giving Slovakia its fifth power play opportunity of the game. Defenceman Michal Sersen’s shot found its way through traffic and behind Galbraith. The roof nearly flew off the arena. 

The sequence of goals that followed came fast and if you left your seat or weren’t paying attention you’d miss the Slovaks quickly taking leads and Denmark just as quickly answering back.

1:18 later Marek Viedensky put the Slovaks up for the first time with a quick shot between two defenders. That lead would not last long as Nichlas Hardt notched the equalizer off a pinpoint pass from Morten Madsen when Slovakia failed to clear the puck out of their zone.

Then Dominik Granak scored 1:14 later to retake the lead for his team. But with 2:14 remaining in the period Daniel Nielsen evened the score for Denmark at three sending the game into overtime. Slovakia again dominated shots in the period 18-4.

In the extra session, Tomas Kopecky has a quality chance as did Marek Daloga but the score remained even taking the game to its final conclusion: a shootout.

When Laco stopped Nichlas Hardt on the final shot of the game, Slovakia finally got they were looking for.

The game did not end the way it began. What started as a defensive struggle and quality goaltending turned into a high-octane offensive performance that was fun to watch.

"We're so close and yet so far." Galbraith said. "At the same time this Slovakia team is a great team going to go far. Ask me later and i think it'll be a point won."


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