PIESTANY, SLOVAKIA - Canada's National Men’s Team captured the bronze medal today at the 2004 Loto Cup in Piestany, Slovakia with a 4-2 loss to Slovakia.
Team Canada opened the tournament on Dec.16 with a 3-2 win over Austria. Canada then tied Switzerland 2-2 on Dec. 17, and closed out the tournament with a loss to the host Slovakians 4-2, giving them the bronze medal and a 1-1-1 record.
Canada opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the game on a goal by Jamie Heward, but the Slovaks evened things up at 1-1 before the end of the opening period. After a scoreless second period, Slovakia opened up a two goal lead as Juraj Stefanka and Pavol Demitra tallied for the home team. Hnat Domenichelli replied for Team Canada, but that was as close as they would get. Demitra added his second of the game into an empty net to give Slovakia the 4-2 win and the gold medal. Frederic Chabot made 34 saves for Canada in the loss, while Slovakian Jan Lasek had 26 saves in the victory.
Canada was the defending Loto Cup champions having won the 2003 event. With the win over Canada, the home town Slovaks captured the gold medal with a perfect 3-0-0 record. Switzerland finished with the silver medal and a 1-1-1 record, which beat out Canada’s 1-1-1 record with the tie breakers.
Team Canada head coach Marc Habscheid was pleased with the effort, “We faced a very skilled line-up with the Slovaks using a handful of NHL Stars. I was really happy with the effort our guys put forth, and felt like we competed hard in every game of the tournament.”
Canada’s Men’s National Team will regroup with another set of players for the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland starting Sunday, Dec.26.