SASKATOON – Slovakia rebounded from a tough first-day loss in convincing fashion with an 8-3 drubbing of Latvia.
Slovakia’s top line of Richard Panik, Tomas Tatar and Marek Viedensky was responsible for the bulk of the offensive output, putting in five of the Slovaks’ eight goals.
Panik scored twice in first 3:44 and then assisted on the 3-0 goal at 5:31. Things continued to go downhill for the beleaguered Latvians, who gave up another two goals before the end of the first period.
The end of the first period was also the end of the game for Latvian goalkeeper Raimond Ermics, who was replaced by Janis Kalnins. Kalnins lasted for nearly 10 minutes before he gave up his first goal when Matus Rais tipped in the puck to make it a 6-0 Slovak advantage. Tatar followed-up just over three minutes later with a five-hole goal.
Trailing 7-0, Latvia had a small moral victory when they put in a pair of goals coming 56 seconds apart. Both goals earned the underdog team a standing ovation from the enamored crowd and a hearty celebration from the players on the ice. Miks Lisbergs and Roberts Bukarts were the scorers.
But in the end, Slovakia had no problem overcoming the blip, as the teams exchanged two late period goals to bring the final to 8-3. Bukarts finished the game with two goals for Latvia, while Panik and Viedensky had four points each on the Slovakian side.
Both teams have the day off tomorrow.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)