Calgary, AB - Oilers prospects Martin Marincin and Martin Gernat returned to action at Scotiabank Saddledome, going head-to-head with Group B's second-place club to determine who would move on to challenge Sweden in the semis.
It didn't go as planned.
Slovakia and Finland were equals in the opening period, each scoring a pair to make it a 2-2 game through 20 minutes. It was all Finland in the second, however, as the blue and white notched four goals in 6:17 to take a commanding 6-2 lead.
Slovakia couldn't recover, allowing another pair in the third to drop an 8-5 decision. In total, 51 minutes in penalties were assessed to Marincin and Gernat's squad (including eight minors), which were converted with three power-play goals against.
"It was good start," Marincin said. "In the second period we had lots of penalties and, in six minutes, and we were scored on a ton.
"It was very bad. We were mad at the referee."
In addition to amassing the minors, an erroneous boarding major was assessed to Slovakia's Matus Chovan at 11:19 of the third, just as the home side and worked its way back into the contest, down 6-4.
Finland's Joonas Donskoi and Teemu Pulkkinen each cashed, putting the Slovakians down by an insurmountable score.
"That was a turning point," remarked Ernest Bokros, Slovakia Head Coach. "It's interesting that eight penalties were called by one referee. The game was decided in the second period."
Bokros wouldn't comment on Chovan's penalty.
"It was important in the game," Gernat added, regarding his club's parade to the box. "We were on the penalty kill a lot, and I don't know why the referee called some penalties. It was such a bad game. We lost in the second period. We played well in the third period, but the second was bad."
Still down 6-2 early in the third, Slovakia showed a pulse.
Marincin chipped in with an assist on Richard Mraz's goal at 13:36 to cut Slovakia's disadvantage to a three-goal margin. He ripped a long-range wrister on goal to produce a welcoming rebound chance, which No. 12 scooped and deposited into the gaping cage behind Sami Aittokallio.
But it wasn't enough. Slovakia has now been eliminated from medal contention and will battle for a 5th-place ranking later this week against either Russia or the Czech Republic.
"We'll see how our opponent is, but we want to win this game," Gernat explained. "Whether it's Russia or the Czech Republic, I don't know. It doesn't matter who we play. The Czechs are like brothers. It will be good if we play them, because a lot of people will be watching the game."