Lightning defenseman Vladimir Mihalik netted his first goal of the 2010 IIHF World Championships today, but it wasn’t enough to lift Slovakia to victory as they fell, 5-2, against Team Finland. In other games today Norway downed Switzerland, 3-2, Belarus defeated Denmark, 2-1, and the Czech Republic bested Latvia, 3-1.
The Slovakians fell to 1-3-0 and are now in danger of not advancing out of the qualification round. After a scoreless first period Finland jumped on Slovakia in the second period, scoring three unanswered goals in a matter of just 4:06. Slovakia got on the board in the third period, but later on in the stanza Jussi Jokinen netted his second of the game to keep the Finnish lead at three. Mihalik then scored to make it 4-2 but the Fins added an empty net goal to cap the scoring. Fellow Lightning prospect Richard Panik was held without a point, but earned a plus-1 rating in 13:08 of ice time.
Team Czech Republic got two second period goals from Tomas Rolinek and Latvia could not overcome it. Lightning and Norfolk Admirals forward Martins Karsums left the game after playing just 18 seconds.
The Slovaks will be back in action tomorrow against Germany, while Steven Stamkos is expected to make his return when Canada takes on the Czech Republic. In Tuesday’s later action Russia takes on Finland while Sweden takes on Switzerland.
Lightning goaltending prospect Vasily Koshechkin, representing his native Russia at the World Championships, continues to lead all goaltenders in save percentage with a .969. In two games played he has stopped 60 of 62 shots faced.