After a disappointing 3-2 loss in overtime on Saturday, Slovakia's under-18 team showed what they are truly made of with a convincing 5-3 victory over the Belarussian team to end their preparations for the Div1A World Championships on a high. Ernest Bokroš' team should have won by a more convincing scoreline, as they lead 4-1 half way through the second period, only to get into penalty trouble and allow Belarus back into the game.
Sparta Praha junior Martin Reway was the star of the show, as his two goals were crucial to the Slovak victory, and if it weren't for the disappointing finishing of his linemates David Šoltés and Milan Kolena, he could've added a hatful of assists. Speaking after the game, Reway, who had 60 points for Sparta in the Czech U-18 league this year, was careful not to get ahead of himself.
"It was a dress rehearsal before the world championships. After yesterday's defeat, we wanted to win. On Saturday we failed at putting our gameplan into practice. Today, everything right went. We are pleased with our preparations for the world championships, but now we expect five tough matches, and the only goal is to get promotion." (Source).
Slovakia got off to a slow start on Sunday, going behind to a 9th minute Valeri Kubrakov goal, but they finished the period with a lead, after goals from Reway and Topoľčany junior Eduard Šimun. Early in the second period, Reway scored his second goal, and soon after Marko Daňo, who scored in the World Junior Championships in Canada in the Winter, scored to make the score 4-1. However, Slovakia began taking penalties and goals from Dmitri Zhelnerovsky and Roman Dyukov sent the teams into the second intermission with the score at 4-3. Slovakia managed to take control of the game again in the final period, and the third line got on the scoresheet again as Stanislav Horansky scored in the 44th minute to add to his earlier assist and finish the game with two points. Linemate Daniel Rzavsky had two assists in the game also.
Bokroš was disappointed at the way his team threw away their three goal lead in the second period, and speaking after the game, he said, "With the score at 4-1 we had our opponent pinned. However, unnecessary penalties meant we were playing into the opponents hands. On our side it was better than Saturday's performance though. We currently have 28 players on the roster, and we need to cut it down to 23 this evening."
Slovakia's quest to get promotion back to the top division begins in earnest on Wednesday where they face Italy.