Slovakia’s national hockey team defeated Russia 4-3 in regulation play on Saturday to capture the country’s first ever world hockey championship title.
After leading 2-0 after the first period and 3-1 after the second, Slovakia found itself in a 3-3 tie game until star forward Peter Bondra put the match away on a two-on-one break with less than two minutes to go.
Bondra’s goal ended the suspense for thousands of Slovaks around the country who had gathered at open-air venues to watch the team play. Some 30,000 people were on hand on Bratislava’s SNP square to watch the live transmission from Sweden, while smaller crowds assembled in urban centres across the country. Pubs and restaurants without television sets were virtually deserted; others with extra sets installed them in front of their doors to meet demand from would-be guests they could not seat inside.
Following the victory, the Slovak team flew back to Bratislava on May 12 to be met by 3,000 people at the airport and about 40,000 on SNP square in the capital.
Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.