Svitana’s goal was the first in a tension-filled third period, but the way the game started, it didn’t seem like the third period would be meaningful at all.
Slovakia struck twice before the game was a minute old, and made it 3-0 by the 7:22 mark. Jaroslav Martiniuk got things started just 19 seconds in, charging through the middle and surprising Tim Barlow with a low shot to the blocker side. Then they went right back to the attack and the Canadians couldn’t clear the zone after Lukas Madera fired a shot off the goalpost, with Hrivnak eventually sliding the puck into the net with Barlow down and out. The third goal was on a slapper by Boris Oravec on the power play, and it looked like the game would become a blowout, with the many Slovaks in attendance going crazy.
Just 34 seconds after Oravec’s goal, Remi Laurencelle got the Canadians on the board, beating Petrik five-hole from the left-wing side. Then they went to the power play shortly afterward and it took them just 14 seconds to strike, with Martel firing a blast over tournament MVP Stanislav Petrik’s shoulder.
Barlow and Petrik, who both posted shutouts in their teams’ semi-final wins, had now combined for five goals against in less than nine minutes.
The game settled down for a time after the wild start, but a pair of Slovak penalties late in the second period opened the door for the Canadians to strike twice and take their first lead of the game. On a 5-on-3, Martel’s second of the game tied it, a one-timer set up perfectly by Victor Azevedo. Then 51 seconds later they scored up one man after some nice tic-tac-toe passing finished off by Marcus Power, which thrilled the few Canadian fans in attendance and left the Slovak majority in stunned silence.
They would have something to cheer about before the period was finished, though. With 1:10 left in the middle frame, some pretty passing led to Milan Rampacek firing a ball into the open side, with Barlow having no chance.
Slovakia went hard for the win in the third period, getting several great chances, but after a shaky start, Barlow was now playing great. However, back on their heels, the Canadians took three penalties in a row trying to contain the Slovak push. They had a two-man advantage for a time, and while still up one man, the ball was worked to Svitana at the point, who’s one-time blast went through everybody, and sent the arena into bedlam.
After an empty-net goal from Hrivnak, the Slovak fans, whose emotions had been toyed with all night long, could finally let loose and start celebrating. After the final horn, they serenaded their now three-time ball hockey champions with the chant: “Zlaty hattrick.”
Ian Moores (head coach of Canada): I think we had a great tournament. I’ve got a lot of respect for my players, the coaching staff and the Canadian Ball Hockey Association. We represented the country proudly and well. It’s disappointing to come fall short here today, we were tied coming into the third period, it could have gone either way. Overall I think we had a good tournament but going home without the trophy certainly sucks. I think the host committee did an amazing job here. The host city was great, the Czech Republic overall is a great country. They treated us with hospitality.
Jozef Ďuriš (headcoach Slovakia): We came into final with that, we want win it. We had great beginning, we caught Canada in first minutes off-guard, after them, we took the lead 3:0. But whole match was before us. That was confirmed, Canada turned around toi 4:3. But with enourmous will, enthusiasm and patience we turned the game in the end and gain the third title in the row.