Late Goals By Slovakia Not Enough To Push Them Past Canada
Well, the run of Slovakian upsets ended in exciting fashion, as they fell to team Canada 3-2 in Friday's semifinal matchup.
At the start of the game, the Slovakians would start slow on both sides of the puck, as Canada's depth at all positions shined through and would limit the Slovakians to just four shots in the first period.
Unlike Slovakia's offense, Canada's would start off hot, beating Slovakia's Jaroslav Halak twice in the open in period on goals by Patrick Marleau and Brendan Morrow respectively.
In the second period, Slovakia would continue to struggle on the offensive end, registering only five shots, but would solidify their play on the defensive end, allowing only one Canadian goal, which was on the powerplay.
At the start of the third, the Slovakians were being out shot nine to 21, but as the period would progress, the Slovakians would begin their fight back against the Canadians.
Slovakia would finally solve Roberto Luongo with just under nine minutes to play in the third, as Lubomir Visnovsky would bounce one off of the Canadian goaltender.
With that goal the Canadian confidence seemed to be shaken along with Luongo's, and the Slovakian's would attempt to capitalize on this shaken mentality.
With just under five minutes to play, Slovakia's Michael Handzus would bang one past Luongo, and just like that, a game that seemed to be in Canada's back pocket was just a one goal game with plenty of hockey left to play.
After Handzus' goal, Slovakia could smell blood in the water and would begin an offensive onslaught over the final five minutes of regulation.
The greatest chance of said onslaught would be from Vancouver Canuck Pavol Demitra, who would have a chance to tie the game with a partial open net. However, Demitra would not convert.
As time would expire, the Slovakians' run for a gold medal would end, but not their dream for a medal, as the Slovakian "farewell tour", as Pavol Demitra calls it, will have a chance at bronze on Saturday against Finland.
With the game tomorrow, it will likely be the end of the line for the likes of Demitra, Ziggy Palffy, Jozef Stumpel, Miroslav Satan, and Richard Zednik, so expect them to place everything they have on the line to clinch their first ever Olympic medal.
Even if Slovakia is unable to defeat the Fins and capture Slovakia's first ever Olympic medal in men's ice hockey, they must still see this "farewell tour" as a success for the many Slovak's whose final Olympics this likely will be.
Slovakia has been a team that has beaten the likes of Sweden and Russia, and even if tomorrow does end in a loss and a fourth place finish, they must be able to realize that they have now put Slovakian hockey on the map.
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