International Ice Hockey Federation

Slovakia’s top line shines

Germany sees relegation looming after 9-2 loss

Published 27.12.2013 20:54 GMT+1 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Slovakia’s top line shines
MALMO, SWEDEN - DECEMBER 27: Slovakia's #20 Marko Dano shoots the puck in during preliminary round action at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Slovakia took advantage of its scoring chances early and skated to a convincing 9-2 win over Germany this afternoon.

The win, at the Isstadion in Malmö, moves Slovakia a step closer to the playoffs in the process and was powered by the top line of Milan Kolena (two goals, one assist)-Martin Reway (one goal, three assists)-David Griger (one goal, four assists).

"We got off to a really good start and just kept on going," said Kolena.

The loss leaves the Germans with an 0-2 record and games against the United States and Czech Republic left in the preliminary round. They will need a bit of luck and a lot of good play if they are to avoid fifth and final place in the Group A standings.

The last team in each group square off for a best two-of-three relegation series while the top eight teams play elimination playoff games after the New Year.

Today’s game was decided early as the Slovaks scored two power-play goals in the opening period. They opened the scoring at 3:33 when captain Kolena nudged his rebound past goalie Marvin Cüpper just 13 seconds into the game’s first power play. The Slovaks celebrated exuberantly, fully aware the early lead in a pivotal game was crucial for success.

"Martin [Reway] made a good pass to me on the play, and I just tried to get the puck up. Fortunately, it went in," Kolena said.

Kolena and Reway are two of the few returning players from last year's Slovakian team in Ufa and will be relied upon for both leadership and offense.

Marko Dano made it 2-0 at 12:38 when goalie Cüpper inadvertently redirected a pass out front right onto the stick of Dano, who made no mistake with the close-in chance. David Griger closed out the scoring when he snapped a nice one-timer over the shoulder of Cüpper, again on the power play.

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The Germans were unable to mount any offence, recording only one shot in the opening 20 minutes.

Although they managed to generate a few chances and scored once in the second period, it wasn’t nearly enough. The Slovaks made it 4-0 early when Dano was again left alone at Cüpper’s crease, but Germany came right back with a quick score of its own.

Leon Draisaitl made a nice pass in tight to Dominik Kahun, and he beat Richard Sabol with an accurate shot. Two more goals from the Slovaks put the game out of reach and Cüpper on the bench in favour of backup Patrick Klein.

Germany got one goal back in the third when Janik Moser's point shot was tipped in by Kahun, but the Slovaks struck for two more goals soon after. Stanislav Horansky got the final goal with just over two minutes remaining.

The Germans play the United States on Sunday while Slovakia next plays, against Canada, on Monday.