Slovakia made the United States’ latest International Hockey Lineal Championship reign extremely short-lived, capturing the title from Team USA in an important 4-2 victory in group play at the 2012 World Championships.
Slovakia stunned the U.S. early, firstly giving up a breakaway to Libor Hudáček (who blasted through two U.S. defenceman to go one-on-one with American goalie Jimmy Howard), but then giving up the goal on the rebound to Hudáček’s attempt, which got lost in Howard’s pads, but was knocked in by Dominik Graňák to take the 1-0 lead. Slovakia would add a second fifteen minutes later on a beautiful top-shelf shot by Branko Radivojevič on a 2-on-1 to take the 2-1 lead. The U.S. would cut the deficit on a Justin Faulk point shot that slid through Slovakian goalie Ján Laco, but with just six seconds to go in the first, Andrej Sekera put Slovakia back up by two on a point shot that was tipped in by U.S. forward Bobby Ryan.
The U.S. would cut the deficit again midway through the third, on a Paul Stastny one-timer from Max Pacioretty on a 5-on-3 power play – ironically enough, Stastny, an American citizen playing on Team USA, scores against the national team his father, Peter Šťastný, helped to advance in the international hockey world following the split of Czechoslovakia in 1992. The Slovak defence did an excellent job at shutting down U.S. breaks and limiting shots, holding the U.S. to 11 shots total in the second and third periods. Laco remained largely untested after the 5-on-3, and a Miroslav Šatan empty net goal with 37 seconds to go in regulation sealed the win for Slovakia.
With the win, Slovakia wins its tenth International Hockey Lineal Championship from the U.S., who won the title just two days earlier from Canada, who entered the Worlds as champions, and defeated the Slovaks in the tournament’s opening game. This was the first meeting between Slovakia and the U.S. over the IHLC since the 2006 Turin Olympics, where Slovakia won 2-1 in group play to retain the title. Slovakia will begin their latest IHLC reign in Preliminary Round action against Kazakhstan.
00:47 – GOAL – Graňák (Hudáček)
15:04 – GOAL – Radivojevič (Kopecký, Handzuš)
15:41 – GOAL – Faulk (Okposo, Slater)
19:54 – GOAL – Sekera (Bližňák)
38:14 – PEN – Starosta, tripping
38:28 – PEN – Bartovič, slashing
38:47 – PP2 GOAL – Stastny (Pacioretty, Fowler)
44:47 – PEN – Atkinson, high sticking double minor
51:10 – PEN – Sekera, tripping
51:28 – PEN – Howard, tripping
59:23 – EN GOAL – Šatan
W: Laco (18-20)
L: Howard (28-31)
SHOTS ON GOAL
15+10+7 = 32
9+7+4 = 20
Goaltenders: Peter Hamerlík, Ján Laco. Defence: Ivan Baranka, Zdeno Chára (C), Dominik Graňák (A), Andrej Sekera, Michal Sersen, Tomáš Starosta, René Vydarený. Forwards: Milan Bartovič, Mário Bližňák, Michal Handzuš, Marcel Haščák, Marcel Hossa, Libor Hudáček, Tomáš Kopecký, Michel Miklik, Juraj Mikúš, Branko Radivojevič, Miroslav Šatan (A), Tomáš Surový, Tomáš Tatar.
Goaltenders: Richard Bachman, Jimmy Howard. Defence: Justin Braun, Chris Butler, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Alex Goligoski, Jack Johnson (C), Jeff Petry. Forwards: Justin Abdelkader, Cam Atkinson, J.T. Brown, Joey Crabb, Patrick Dwyer, Ryan Lasch, Kyle Okposo, Max Pacioretty, Kyle Palmieri, Bobby Ryan, Jim Slater (A), Paul Stastny, Nate Thompson (A).