The hockey tournament is always the central event or one of the main highlights of the Winter Olympics. Even though the best players from the NHL are unable to be present this year, it should still be interesting on South Korean ice. For the second consecutive time, Slovenia will be a part at the Olympic tournament. Even if joining the elite Olympic Twelve seemed to be science fiction up until a few years ago, Slovenian “Lynx” will now have two appearances.
Before the start of the tournament, which will take place in Gangneung in the east of the country, Slovenia’s last and only preparatory match took place in Seoul, on the west coast of Korea. With scores from Boštjan Goličič and Anže Kuralt for 2-1, Slovenia beat the host of the games. In the first third, the Lynx showed a good game, and then Korean hockey players took charge in their capital city. In the second third, the 18:5 shot was in Korean favour. In the last third, however, Slovenia again collected itself and set the turnaround for a win that boosts confidence before the start of the tournament.
Savolainen: Match after a long journey was a huge challenge
Head coach of the Slovenian team Kari Savolainen was pleased with the reaction of his players: "To play after such a long journey and with jet lag was a huge challenge for the team. I am pleased that in this situation we played two very good thirds and managed to win. Anything that happens on ice gives new material to the coach. It was a preparatory game, which is part of the path toward the Olympic tournament. We will not make big conclusions after this game, but it is still something. "
"I do not know what happened in the second third," he said, "perhaps we focused too much on the attack, while the opponent woke up and played a good third." “I was surprised how well my players skated in the first third. In the second, I thought – aha, this is 'jet lag'. But we returned to the game and I am satisfied with that, "added the Finnish expert on the Slovenian bench for TV Slovenia.
Slovenia will face the US on Wednesday in the first match, followed by a duel with the Slovakians, and then at least one more match. In Sochi 2014, the Lynx have made it all the way to the quarterfinals.