Rangers pick Peter Ceresnak anchors Slovakia's D (OHL Images)GROUP B: SLOVAKIA
Last year’s finish: Sixth, lost 5-2 to Czech Republic in consolation game
Last year’s round-robin record: 2-2-0-0, 23 GF/5 GA
Having made it to the quarter-final in Calgary last season, Team Slovakia is eyeing to do so in Ufa as well.
Except that this time it looks like mission impossible.
Slovakia is in the same pool with Russia, Canada and the U.S., with only three teams making it to the play-offs. Ernest Bokros’ squad has to beat at least one of the teams to even hope to avoid the relegation round. That’s one hell of a task.
If that wasn’t enough, Slovaks lost their two key players in Marek Tvrdon (Vancouver Giants, WHL) and Martin Gernat (Oil Kings, WHL) to injuries. With them out, Slovakia’s main force appears to lie in the defence.
Goalies Patrik Romancik and Adam Nagy have spent this entire season with U20 Team Slovakia in the Extraliga playing against pro teams while Richard Sabol spent this year with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. Neither of them have really been spectacular but keep in mind that same things were once said about Jaroslav Janus in 2009.
Even without Gernat, the Slovak defence looks solid. New York Rangers prospect Peter Ceresnak of the Peterborough Petes is on the team as well as Patrik Luza, who has some KHL experience with Slovan Bratislava, and Richard Buri — a big frame defenceman who knows how to play both responsibly and physical.
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