SLOVAKIA COMES BACK LATE, EDGES SWISS FOR FIRST WIN
JASON LA ROSE
EDMONTON, Alta. – Martin Chromiak got the game-winning goal with 3:05 left, and Slovakia scored three times unanswered in the final eight minutes to top Switzerland 5-3 and get into the win column at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
The Slovaks are off to the fifth-place game Friday against the Czech Republic (4 p.m. MT), while the Swiss will face off with Finland in the seventh-place contest (12 p.m. MT).
With Slovakia carrying the momentum and overtime looming, Chromiak took a feed from Dominik Sojka and ripped a one-timer over the shoulder of Swiss goaltender Sascha Ruppelt.
Michal Mrazik chipped in two goals for the Slovaks, tying the game with 7:10 to go before adding insurance into an empty net in the final minute.
Dominik Jendek was first onto the board for Slovakia, reaching out to redirect a pass from Juraj Elias past Ruppelt just shy of the 13-minute mark of the opening period.
Cédric Fiedler equalized for the Swiss early in the second, letting go a shot from the high slot that made its way through bodies and past Slovak netminder Patrik Kozel. It was the first goal of the tournament for Switzerland, which had been shut out by Canada and Sweden in its first two games.
Maxim Cajkovic got that back for Slovakia before the end of the middle frame, beating Ruppelt with a quick shot up and over the blocker.
The Swiss power play tied the game 4:46 into the third period when Simon Knak hammered a one-timer past Kozel, and he cleaned up a rebound at the side of the net for his second at 12:16 to put Switzerland in front for the first time.
But Mrazik needed only 34 seconds to beat Ruppelt upstairs from a sharp angle, tying the game again and setting up the Chromiak winner just four minutes later.