Duo of Tomaštík, Železný lead team to championship
Oliver Tomaštík and Dominik Železný came out flying at the ‘11 Elite World Selects Invitational. With a combined 28 points over five games, the forwards led Slovakia Selects to a 4-0-1 preliminary round record. That run secured the No. 2-seed heading into the playoff rounds. It was there they carried the team to three more wins en route to the championship. The gold medal was Slovakia’s first at the tournament.
Dual hat tricks contribute to offensive outburst
Slovakia scored the most goals out of all 10 participating clubs in pool play. Domination that many expected to continue into the playoffs. Against Finland Selects, both Tomaštík (3G, 1A) and Železný (3G, 2A) recorded hat tricks to propel Slovakia to a 8-0 victory. Next up was Pro Hockey, who managed to put up some offense on Slovakia. However, it was not enough in a 5-3 loss. That win sent Slovakia into the final game against Sweden Selects. Sweden upset the heavily favored Czech Knights in the semifinals with an overtime victory.
Sweden shocks Knights in OT thriller
The odds were looking good for the Knights to defend their title from last year’s tournament. Skating into the playoffs as the only undefeated team, they made a statement with a 16-0 quarterfinal win over ALPS Selects. Riding that momentum, the Knights opened the scoring against Sweden just over three minutes into the game. Determined to not let things get out of hand, Sweden responded with three goals in nine minutes to take a 3-1 lead into intermission.
After Sweden increased its lead to 4-1 early in the second, the Czechs flipped a switch. Displaying the depth that got them to the semifinals, three different players scored for the Knights to tie the game at four. In overtime, Liam Klarén finished off the win for Sweden 1:26 into the extra frame. The victory secured Sweden’s spot in a rematch against Slovakia for the title. Earlier in the tournament, Slovakia bested Sweden 3-2.
Slovakia earns gold with complete performance
Like in their previous meeting, Sweden had no answer for the offensive attack of Slovakia. After blazing out to a 3-0 lead, Sweden cut into Slovakia’s lead only to surrender two more goals before the first period ended. Gustav Grundström and Tomaštík tallied the only goals of the second to end their run with a 6-2 win. Tomaštík and Železný only collected one point apiece, leaving Tomáš Brázdil as the lone Slovakian player with more than one (2G). The championship was Slovakia’s first at the ‘11 Elite World Selects Invite.
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