The Slovak hockey team defeated Poland 5: 1 and after two matches of the Olympic qualification has the full number of points. Ružička, Hudáček, Roman and Cehlárik twice deserved a comfortable victory on Friday evening in Bratislava. The Slovaks shot the opponent 48:17.
In the second match of the Bratislava D-group, the Belarusians won over the Austrians 5: 2 and before the final matches on Sunday, the Slovaks have six points, the Belarusians and the Poles three, the Austrians are without a point and just like the Poles can no longer advance. In the fight for promotion to the Olympic Games, one point will be enough for our team in the match with Belarus (Sunday, 5.30 pm), ie a draw in regular playing time. If the Poles won over Austria, the Slovaks could also lose by two goals and in the table of three six-point teams they would end up in first place.
Craig Ramsay’s team started in almost the same composition as in Thursday’s match with Belarus, the only change being the absence of the injured Milos Kelemen in the fourth attack. Miloš Roman replaced him. Slovaks were clear favorites, as Poles played in the lower categories of the World Championships for seventeen years.
In the first period 22 shots, but only one goal in the Polish net
The Slovaks ran for the opponent and all attacks had several shooting attempts. The naturalized Polish goalkeeper John Murray continued to perform very well, as he did not collect in the winning match with the Belarusians. However, it only lasted until the ninth minute, when Adam Ružička used a lot of pressure for the first goal. He managed to do so with a big contribution from the defender Wanacke, who knocked the puck behind the goal behind the goal line.
After the goal was scored, the favorite did not use the power play and the first better passage of the game was performed by the Poles, who also gained a large advantage. They worked out several chances in it, but they did not equalize. The dominance of the Slovaks thus continued. They could increase, for example, with a two-on-one break, when Murray neutralized Daň’s shot after Studenič’s pass.
In another Slovak power play, Hudáček found himself in front of a goalkeeper of American origin, but he did not finish exactly. Murray then caught Pospíšil and at the end of the first period he also displaced a good attempt by Slafkovsky or Captain Hrivík. Branislav Konrád on the other side of the field had almost no work.
In the second period, the favorite already dominated
After 22 shooting attempts in the first period, the Slovaks continued to be very active in the second part of the game, even during the first two minutes, when they played weak. Libor Hudáček scored the second goal in the 25th minute. He managed it after an excellent individual action, which was preceded by a distant vertical pass by Čerešnák on the blue line.
The Poles threw the collected goal out of rhythm and the Slovaks already completely dominated. The third goal was added by the fourth formation of youngsters, when after Nemc’s pass they got into the offensive zone Slafkovský, connected two opponents and with a nice “frog” found Roman in front of the goal, who enjoyed Murray.
The great dominance of the home team in the middle of the match was stopped by the unnecessary exclusion of Pospíšil for the attack. The first problems in the second period had to be solved by the goalkeeper Konrád and at the end of the power play he was overcome by captain Dziubinski. He pushed through the shot from the first after a pass from behind the goal. This encouraged the Poles and got into other chances.
The outsider’s slight breathing was stopped by a used power play by the Slovaks, when Peter Cehlárik was at the end of an excellent combination and the score was 4: 1 from the 33rd minute. In the second period, the Slovaks worked out several chances, but the score did not change. After forty minutes, the ratio of shots was 39:14, the more active Slovaks were also helped by the substitute closer to the opponent’s goal, thanks to which they closed the opponent several times for long passages.
The match was just finishing, Ružička was trying to get a hat-trick
The final third was no longer played at a high pace and did not have a large charge. The Poles made a tired impression and the Slovaks were probably already thinking about Sunday’s final match with Belarus. A power play helped our team improve. A few seconds after it ended, Adam Ružička took advantage of his stay in the offensive zone with the clever flow of Pospíšil’s throw from the blue line. The goal was studied for a long time by the referees, but Ružička did not knock the puck with a high stick.
In the next course, Gernát scored a shot and Adam Ružička still had two chances to shoot a hat-trick at the end of the match, and before the match he did not have a national team goal among the seniors before the match. The Slovaks kept the puck away from goalkeeper Konrád, who was almost out of work in the third period and the score did not change. Craig Ramsay’s charges won 5: 1.
“We knew that the Poles would retreat and defend the middle zone well. We wanted to bounce back as fast as possible, but they were sacrificed and held by the goalkeeper. But in the second period we increased the pressure, they shot a lot, they already had players in front of the goal, they were more aggressive and goals came, “said Andrej Podkonický, assistant coach of the head coach, in an interview for RTVS. “But we will still want to improve the power play. It will certainly be difficult with the Belarusians, but we have to play our game and if we show our fast and aggressive hockey, we will be successful, “he added.
“It was difficult to win from the beginning. We did not manage to change the chances, but in the second period it broke. We found out that we can score goals, so I hope we will have it on Sunday as well. It will be difficult, but we will definitely study the Belarusian game, “said the author of two assists, Peter Čerešňák, after the match.
Qualification for OH 2022 – D-group (Bratislava):
Slovakia – Poland 5: 1 (1: 0, 3: 1, 1: 0)
Goals: 9. Ružička (Čerešňák, Gernát), 25. Hudáček (Čerešňák, Gernát), 27. Roman (Slafkovský, Nemec), 33. Cehlárik (Hudáček, Jurčo), 49. Ružička (Pospíšil, Lantoši) – 31. Dziubinski (Lyszczarczyk) , Chmielewski). They decided: Öhlund (SWE), Tscherrig (CHE) – Kröyer (DEN), Zunde (LVA), exclusion: 3: 6 for 2 min, overpowers: 1: 1, weakening: 0: 0, 3685 spectators.
Slovakia: Konrád – Jaroš, Marinčin, Gernát, Čerešňák, Kňažko, Grman, Nemec, Ďaloga – Jurčo, Hrivík, Cehlárik – Lantoši, Ružička, Pospíšil – Studenič, Hudáček, Daňo – Slafkovský, Gríger, Roman
Poland: Murray – Kolusz, Ciura, Wajda, Kostek, Górny, Bryk, Wanacki, Jaskiewicz – Pas, Chmielewski, Dziubinski – Zygmunt, Wronka, Pasiut – Urbanowicz, Lyszczarczyk, Komorski – Walega, Starzynski, Przygodzki