Slovakia defeats Sweden to take bronze medal at WJC
Monday, 01.05.2015 / 7:28 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship
By Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent
TORONTO -- Slovakia won its second-ever medal at the IIHF
World Junior Championship with a 4-2 victory against Sweden in the
bronze-medal game at Air Canada Centre on Monday.
Slovakia also won a bronze medal in 1999.
Each team managed 28 shots on goal, but it was Slovakian goaltender
Denis Godla, as he has done so often during the WJC, who stole the
spotlight. Undrafted last year, Godla is eligible for 2015 NHL Draft.
Speaking through an interpreter, Godka said winning the bronze medal
didn't mean as much to him personally as it does to hockey in Slovakia.
"It is a wonderful feeling," Godka said. "It is almost
indescribable for all Slovakians. The Swedish team seemed to be
disappointed from losing Sunday (4-1 against Russia) and we wanted to
win more than they did."
Godla wouldn't toot his own horn, but his teammates were quite willing to do it for him.
"Our goalie … our goalie," beamed Slovakia forward Samuel Petras.
"He's got a lot of luck, but he is very good. Everybody likes him and he
is our hero now. He's a rock star … he's everything for us. We can pray
for him because he is awesome."
Petras was bubbling with emotion as he clung to his bronze medal.
"It is an amazing feeling," Petras said. "I cannot appreciate it
right now, but maybe I will in four days or a week after I come home. I
can't believe it now."
The Slovaks took a quick 2-0 lead with goals by David Soltes and Mislav Rosandic 39 seconds apart early in the opening period, but Sweden tied it courtesy of goals by William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Jens Looke.
The second period was scoreless and Sweden defenseman Julius Bergman was assessed a five-minute interference penalty with an accompanying game misconduct at 20:00.
Opening the third period on the power play, Slovakia restored its lead when Pavol Skalicky scored his first goal of the WJC at 2:52.
Sweden pulled its goalie Linus Soderstrom (New York Islanders) with 2:28 remaining and Slovakia responded with an empty-net goal by Patrik Koys to clinch the bronze medal.
Sweden defenseman Gustav Forsling (Vancouver Canucks)
said the difference in the game was his team's inability to score with a
1:25 two-man advantage in the first period and Slovakia cashing in on
the five-minute power play to start the third.
"You know if they get a five-minute power play, they are going to
score sooner or later," Forsling said. "Our power play was not good
today. It didn't work today."
Slovakia, which finished fourth in 2009 and has finished eighth four
times and sixth once since then, was 2-2 in the preliminary round after
beating Finland and Germany and losing to Canada and the United States.
The Slovaks upset the Czech Republic 3-0 in the quarterfinal.