|Team Slovakia won both games in Minsk.|
The national side, who won the Deutschland Cup before Christmas continued their run of good form under new coach Vladimír Vůjtek, and their defensive play has been most impressive since the changing of the guard after Glen Hanlon's firing. The Slovakian national side needs any success it can get at the moment after the horror show that was the 2011 World Championships, and with Slovakia's current ranking putting into jepoardy their chance of automatically qualifying for the 2014 Olympics, any form of forward momentum would be greatly welcomed within the Slovakia set up.
Speaking with hokejportal.sk (link) after the game, Vůjtek sounded surprised at how the Belarussians folded in the first period.
"The match with Belarus was easier than we expected. In eight minutes we managed to put three goals past them, and then we just had to control the game."
"Against Belarus we were more relaxed than against Switzerland."
|Two goal hero Juraj Mikúš celebrates|
|Kristian Kudroc hammers|
Juraj Mikúš led the way for the Slovaks, scoring three goals and one assist in the tournament, whilst Michel Miklik, renowned for his goal scoring touch in the Slovak Extraliga, showed an extra dimension to his game, picking up three assists in the two games. Considering some of the absences from the squad, including SM-Liiga forward Tomáš Záborský, who once again pulled out after being selected, the Slovaks should be pleased from their showing, especially with some of their depth players who weren't expected to contribute, although they're might be a few worries about the performance of the top line, as Vladimir Dravecký, Roman Kukumberg, and Štefan Ružička combined for just one goal. All in all though, I imagine the SZLH is very happy with the job that Vladimir Vůjtek has done so far, although the big test comes in a couple of months, when Vůjtek takes his Slovakia side to the World Championships, where the Slovaks will hope they can recreate the magic of 2002.