TEAM Slovakia's hockey players failed to advance from the quarterfinals of the World Hockey Championships in Latvia yesterday, losing 4-1 to Canada on the strength of some dreadful defensive errors in the final period of the match.
Forward Dušan Milo opened the scoring in the 17th minute of the first period. It took Canada nearly 20 minutes to tie the score, but in the third period, the more experienced Canadians scored three easy goals in the space of 100 seconds to send the Slovaks packing.
This year's Slovak entry was not highly rated, as 15 of the country's top players who skate for NHL clubs turned down invitations to participate - some because they were still playing in the playoffs of the North American league, others because of injury, and still others because of fatigue, contract concerns and petty personal rivalries.
The team advanced from the preliminary round on the strength of a 6-0 win against Kazachstan, but its losses to Belarus (2-1) and Russia (4-3) left it in last place in its main round group.
While no team had ever advanced to the quarterfinals of World Championship play from such a position, Slovakia proceeded to tie Switzerland 2-2, defeat Sweden 5-2, and thrash Ukraine 6-0 to make history.
With the defeat against Canada, Slovakia finished eighth in the championships.
Compiled by Martina Jurinová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
18. May 2006 at 12:03