Newcomers Denmark faced a tough loss against Slovakia in a game that will count in the relegation round.
Slovakia gains three important points from Denmark in an almost empty CEZ Arena in Pardubice. The result of this game will also count in the relegation round where Kazakhstan and Switzerland will join Slovakia and Denmark.
After two periods, Slovakia had what appeared to be a solid three-goal lead but in the third Denmark started scoring on their chances and the game got closer. Slovakia, however, managed to keep the lead until the end and won 4-3.
“In the first two periods we didn’t make any mistakes”, said Slovak netminder Julius Hudacek. “But in the third period we were too cold”.
In the beginning of the game it was obvious that both teams were afraid of losing, but after Ivan Rohac scored the Slovak leading goal the game picked up a little in pace.
Rohac’s goal was scored on the power-play after a beautiful play by Lusnak and Marcinko.
Denmark opened the second period with a man advantage and established pressure in the Slovak end but couldn’t beat goaltender Hudacek. Instead Matej Cesik increased the Slovak lead to two with a low shot in the middle of the period.
In the middle act Denmark took too many penalties and Slovakia made it 3-0 during a 2-man advantage. The goal was quite similar to the first one where they used a cross pass in the area between the goalie and the defenders.
Hudacek in the Slovak net got hit badly by the first Danish shot of the game but that didn’t prevent him from keeping his net clean until the beginning of the third period when Mikkel Boedker scored a goal that was allowed after video review.
Denmark would close the gap to one when Nichlas Hardt scored off a rebound. Marek Slovak replied immediately and restored the two-goal Slovak lead after a sloppy Danish face-off.
“After a faceoff where we didn’t cover our man out front, they scored to make it 4-2“, said the disappointed Danish coach Ken Babey.
With 25 seconds remaining, Morten Poulsen made the final seconds exciting when he made it 4-3, but the Slovak team got away with the vital win.
“We came back great in the third period”, said Danish defender Oliver Lauridsen. “We tried to do our best and they got tired but it didn’t go all the way.”
This game counts in the standings of the relegation round where 2 out of the 4 teams will be sent down to Division 1. The remaining games will be played in Liberec on Wednesday and Thursday.
Stefan Mikes (coach of Slovakia): I am really glad that we won, it was our fourth game in five days and we had a lot of chances. We did allow our opponent to dramatize the game in the third period and we were a little worried about how the game would turn out. We`re very happy about the result and the three points are very important for us.
Ken Babey (coach of Denmark): I`m very proud of our team`s effort. These young boys worked very hard and never gave up when it was down 3-0. Playing A pool countries, the lack of experience of some of the players showed up at some points. The score was 3-2 and I thought we had captured a little momentum but on the next play, after a faceoff where we didn`t cover our man out front, they scored to make it 4-2. I think that our team is getting better, it`s the first time we`ve been in the A pool and it`s been a great learning process and hopefully tomorrow we will be at our best.