The Slovenia Times

With five Wins back in Group A



South Korea, Italy, Romania, Estonia and Poland had absolutely no answer to the very disciplined defensive and fast attacking game of the Slovenian team. The new coach from Finland, Kari Savolainen has already stamped his authority on the team. Last year many problems occurred during the Championships in Finland, because almost all of the players came from one of the two old rivals in the National Championships, Acroni Jesenice or ZM Olimpija. This year the chemistry in the team was perfect, the goal was clear and was achieved successfully. When final preparations for the national team took place in Finland, a lot of players suffered from food poisoning. The best goal scorer Ivo Jan couldn't play in the opening game, but South Korea was no match for the Slovenians. The final score was 10:2 and victory was never in doubt. Before the Championships started all the analysts said that key match would be between Italy and Slovenia. The Italians had a very physical match with Poland on the opening evening. Although theybeat the host nation surprisingly easy 4:0, all the efforts cost them a lot of power and energyin the game vs. Slovenia. In the 14th minute of the game Tomaz Razingar and Nik Zupancic scored in a span of 16 seconds. That was a shock for Italy, who didn't play a bad game, but just couldn't score. After three games it was clear that the game between Estonia and Slovenia would decide who was going to take first place. The Estonian team was very strong, with a lot of players having experience from the Russian League. The Slovenians started aggressively and outplayed the Estonians in the first period 4:0, the final score was 7:2 and one game before the end the celebrations had already began. On the final day there was yet another pretty easy win, Poland was dismissed 4:1. Slovenia was impresive The statistics really tell the story. Slovenia scored 33 goals and conceded just 5, and all of those five goals were scored a long time after the games had already been decided. 109 journalists voted for the best team of the Championships and 4 of the players selected were Slovenians. The goalkeeper Rober Kristan was in sensational form, Robert Ciglenecki, Ivo Jan and Nik Zupancic were always a big threat in front of the opponents goal. President of the Slovenian Ice Hockey Federation Nestl Aljancic was very happy with all the performances in Gdansk. He'll try to convince the coach Savolainen to stay for another season. The Finnish coach really showed his international experience, but stayed cool in classic Scandinavian style : ''I'm very satisfied with all five games. The second game against Italy was decisive, but all the other teams played good hockey too.'' The World Championships of the Elite Group A will be played this year in Czech Republic and next year Slovenia will return in Austria. The Championships will take place between April 30th and May 15th, 2005 in Vienna and Innsbruck.


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