The second day of the 2015 World Championships began with a crazy meeting between Denmark and Slovakia, with the both teams trading goals before Marko Dano eventually gave Slovakia the 4-3 victory in the shootout.
The first period saw some conservative action between the two teams. For Slovakia, their three shots failed to really create much in terms of quality chances, with the best opportunity coming when a Marian Gaborik shot was stopped, only to have Michel Miklík pick up the puck and hit the crossbar on the play. Earlier in the period, Gaborik had a beautiful chance of his own to start off the game, but his tip off of a Tomas Kopecky shot sent the puck soaring over the net and out of danger.
Denmark, on the other hand, did slightly more. The team only managed seven shots on net, yet their best scoring chance didn’t even count of anything. After Morden Madsen deked past a Slovak defenseman, Nichlas Hardt picked up the loose puck in a weird scramble on the right post. He attempted to bank the shot off of Jan Laco on the play, but the talented Slovak netminder fell down just in time to keep the puck from crossing over the line.
Five minutes into the second, Denmark finally was able to break the ice. While on the power-play thanks to a Gaborik high-sticking call, Jesper B. Jensen sent the puck to Jesper Jensen along the far boards, who took a hard shot towards the net. Along the way, Patrick Bjorkstrand managed to redirect the puck over Laco, doing all he needed to help Denmark take the 1-0 lead.
The second period was a stronger one for the Slovaks, but they still couldn’t fine the back of the net. After just a three shot performance in the opening frame, Slovakia exploded for 18 chances in the second, all stopped by Patrick Galbraith. Galbraith was easily the best player in the game for either team, making him some huge stops on a hungry Slovak offense that really came to life during the final two periods of the game.
Slovakia was simply snake bitten. Even when Galbraith wasn’t in his crease, the team couldn’t find a way to break his shutout. At one point, the Slovaks had two great scoring chances with Galbraith scrambling to find his footing. So what happens? First, Daniel Nielsen quickly drops down and blocks a hard shot from Miklík just a few feet away from the net. Seconds later, Tomas Kopecky deked past a sprawling Galbraith, only to be stopped by 6’6 Philadelpia Flyers prospect Oliver Lauridsen, who got his shoulder in the way of the shot.
With 12 minutes remaining in the game, Slovakia would finally break down Galbraith’s incredible play with two goals almost instantly. First, Michal Sersen’s point shot beat traffic cleanly with a powerful blast from the point, tying the game at one. A minute later, newly-named forward Marek Viedensky took a pass from the corner and sent a one-timer into the back of the net, giving the many Slovak fans in attendance something very exciting to cheer for.
The insanity wasn’t over just yet. 30 seconds after the Slovaks took the lead, Hardt finally scored off of a fairly similar goal to Viedensky. The goal gave the Danes a bit of life as the shot proved to be just their first of the third period, but that excitement would all go away when Dominik Grankak’s weak shot from the boards somehow got past Galbraith, giving Slovakia the lead once again.
Slovakia would get a penalty late in the game, and with the one goal, it didn’t look so safe. The Danes had a few chances to put one past Laco, but they would have to wait until after the man advantage was denied for them to tie the game back up. With 2:14 left to go, Daniel Nielsen did a job to keep the puck in the zone, and after a little bit of patience, he took a hard shot from the point that Laco had trouble controlling to tie the game up again at three.
The crazy contest couldn’t find a winner in regulation or overtime, so it was fitting that the game would require a shootout. Both teams would be able to score a goal each earlier on, but Marko Dano’s goal on the sixth chance for Slovakia would be the one that would help give the Slovaks the two points.
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