A tournament of firsts continued for Slovenia at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Playing in their first Olympics, the Slovenes sealed their first ever Olympic win with a three-goal third period to upset Slovakia 3-1 Saturday afternoon.
Slovenia got its first break early in the third when forward Rok Ticar played a centering ice from behind the net, moving the puck from his skate to his stick before shoveling a back-hand shot underneath Slovakia goalie Jaroslav Halak.
Ziga Jeglic, who set up Slovenia’s first goal has been one of the hottest players during the preliminary round in Group A as he scored both goals in a 5-2 loss to Russia on Thursday.
The Slovenes built a 3-0 lead on a pair of goals by captain Tomas Razingar and Anze Kopitar just 23-seconds apart. Both goals came from inside the left circle beating Halak high. Former Red Wings draft pick Jan Mursak drew the only assist on Kopitar’s goal at 9:22.
“It was a really bad game for us, but in this competition we are seeing the underdogs playing really, really well,” Slovakia’s Tomas Tatar told the assembled media at Bolshoy. “We will go away and figure out what we need to do and hopefully tomorrow we will be better against Russia.”
Slovakia was dealt a major setback when former Red Wings forward Tomas Kopecky was injured and did not return to the game. With less than 10 minutes left in the first period, Kopecky was hit in the head by Slovene defenseman Sabahudin Kovaceic. Kopecky was wobbly as he tried to get to the bench under his own power. He took just four shifts with his linemates Tomas Jurco and Tatar.
A consolation prize for Slovakia came with 17.8 seconds left when they ended Slovenia’s shutout bid on Jurco’s power-play goal. The NHL rookie became the fourth Red Wings’ player to score in the Sochi Games, joining Tatar, and Sweden’s Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson.
“It's not going well for our team,” Jurco told the media, “but hopefully we can shake it up before the next game.”
The course gets tougher for both squads on Sunday. Slovakia closes out its round-robin schedule against Russia and the Slovenes face-off against USA.