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Slovak stunner: Laco starts over Budaj, Halak

Feb 16, 2014, 7:23 AM EDT

Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco blocks a shot on goal during a training session at the Bolshoy Ice Dome at the the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

Goaltender Jaroslav Halak suggested he was to blame for Slovakia’s stunning 3-1 loss to Slovenia on Saturday, and perhaps his head coach agreed.

The Slovaks are going with KHL netminder Jan Laco for their final group game against the Russians on Sunday, the team announced. Halak will serve as the backup while Montreal’s Peter Budaj is a healthy scratch, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

As mentioned, Halak shouldered the load following the aforementioned defeat to Slovenia.

“I think the first goal, that was a really weak goal for me,” he said following the game. “I think that kind of set the tone for the rest of the period for us.”

Halak had previously been pulled during Slovakia’s match against America, so it wasn’t shocking when the team decided to go with someone else today. What is surprising is they passed over Budaj, the only other NHL goalie on the roster.

This might end badly for Slovakia, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The game against Slovenia was Slovakia’s best chance earn a win. Now they’re in serious danger of ending this tournament at the bottom of the rankings.

Related:

After shocking loss to Slovenia, Slovakia looks to rebound against Russia

Is Slovakia on the decline as a hockey nation?

  1. lateralous - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    At this point, it seems like a pretty good decision.

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