HANNOVER, Germany (CP) - Former Quebec League junior Martin Bartek scored four goals Friday as Slovakia built an early lead and then held off a Canadian comeback for a 5-3 victory at the Deutschland Cup.
It was Canada's first loss in the tournament after opening with wins over Switzerland and the U.S.
Bartek, who had Quebec League stops in Rouyn-Noranda, Rimouski, Sherbrooke and Moncton in the late 1990s, scored the only goals of the first and second periods and then put Slovakia up 3-0 just 37 seconds into the third period. All three goals came on the power play.
"There were a lot of minor penalties on both sides so there really wasn't much flow to the game," said Canadian coach Marc Habscheid. "We didn't get our game going until the third period which was a little too late."
Canada began its rally with goals from Pascal Trepanier at 3:03 and Steve Kelly at 5:22.
Bartek, chosen 202nd overall in the 1998 NHL entry draft by the Nashville Predators, gave the Slovaks some breathing room with his fourth at 13:53 but Rene Corbet again pulled Canada within one at 16:04.
That set up a frantic finish, but goalie Karol Krizan held his ground until Roman Kukumberg scored into an empty net with 31 seconds left.
"Our guys battled back from a three-goal deficit to make it interesting and we had some chances to tie it," said Habscheid. "They just didn't go in."
Corey Hirsch stopped 17 of 22 shots for Canada.
Canada (2-1-0) wraps up the round-robin Sunday against Germany. Wins in regulation are worth three points while a shootout win is worth two. Canada beat the Swiss in a shootout and has five points after three games.
The Canadians, made up of European-based pros and AHL players, have yet to completely gel, according to Habscheid.
"It's coming," he said. "It's tough when you're together for only a short time. Guys are starting to get to know each other but we're still working on chemistry and line combinations."
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