Group A preliminary round play continued today with Slovenia facing off against Slovakia – both teams lost their first game of the Olympics on Thursday, the 13th. Slovakia was downed by the Americans, 7-1, and Slovenia lost to the hosts Russia 5-2. Puck drop was at noon local Sochi time, 3:00 AM EST.
These two nations are only separated by roughly 200 miles, a similar distance between Boston and New York City – they are practically neighbors. Slovenia borders both Italy and Croatia, and also touches part of the Adriatic Sea. Just Northeast is Slovakia, whose closest neighbors are the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, and Hungry – in the heart and soul of Eastern Europe.
These two countries were separated by just two goals on the ice today, and the game was won in the third period. The first two periods of the game were scoreless, and only consisted of penalty minutes. The scoring came relatively quickly in the third period though, Slovenia’s Rok Ticar, 24 year old center, netted the first goal of the game just 3 minutes and 23 seconds into the period. Within less than ten minutes of Slovenia’s first goal, they added two more to take a three to nothing lead – Tomaz Razingar and Anze Kopitar were the goal scorers.
The Slovaks got on the scoreboard in the third period, but it was too late. Tomas Jurco, 21 year old Detroit Red Wing right winger, scored in the final minute on the powerplay for Slovakia. Slovenia’s netminder, Robert Kristan, made 30 saves in the win, and was seconds away from a shutout. Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves in the loss for Slovakia. Final score, Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1.
These two teams will play tomorrow, Slovenia will take on the USA, and Slovakia will take on hosts Russia. Puck drop for both games is at 4:30 PM local Sochi time, 7:30 AM EST.