Tomcikova shines again, Slovaks show resolve against Sweden at Olympics

 

Bemidji State goalie Zuzana Tomcikova and the Slovakian women’s hockey team picked themselves up off the ice following Sunday’s record loss to Canada and turned in a nice game against Sweden.

The Swedes won the game by a 6-2 scores, but the Slovakians played tough early and scored a pair of nice goals in the first period.

Here’s what Tomcikova had to say about the game to the Associated Press:
"Maybe if anybody would have told us 6-2 before the game, we would have been happy," said Tomcikova, who plays at Bemidji State in Minnesota. "But too many of their goals were scored on our penalty kill. We’ve really got to work on staying out of the box and playing 5-on-5."

The star of the game, again, was Tomcikova. She wasn’t tested as much as she was against Canada, though she still made some equally impressive saves.

As Bemidji State men’s assistant basketball coach Jeremy Tiers noted through a tweet, Tomcikova has faced 115 shots in two games. She finished with 42 saves against Sweden.

I watched the game through an Internet feed last night and thought, again, she had a number of above-average saves. The only way the Swedes were able to generate effective scoring chances was by directing traffic in front of her and going for tip-ins.

Here’s what I thought of the Sweden goals:

1: This first goal came on a third rebound after Tomcikova made an incredible leg pad save on the second attempt. It was also a power play goal.

2: This was a highlight reel goal for Sweden as the puck was knocked out of midair at the crease with a baseball bat-swinging motion. The goal was allowed to stand on review.

3: This was a 1-on-1 goal and Zuzana was beat with a hard shot under the blocker and close to her body. I’m sure this is one she wanted back.

4. The fourth goal was a scorer’s goal on a 1-on-1. Pernilla Winberg scored the only goal of the second period by skating in and slapping a shot over Tomcikova’s shoulder. She didn’t have a chance on that one, a perfectly placed shot.

5. The Swedes scored another one on the power play, this time passing through the crease to the far side of the net. Minnesota-Duluth’s Erin Holmov had an easy redirect for the goal. Again, another one that Tomcikova didn’t have a chance at.

6. By the time Sweden scored its sixth goal of the game midway though the third period, you could tell the Slovakian skaters were tired. Tomcikova made an outstanding leg save, but the puck couldn’t be cleared. A shot from the blue line was stopped by Tomcikova again. The closest Slovak player next to Tomcikova didn’t see the puck, didn’t clear it and Winberg tapped in the easy rebound.

I thought the most impressive moment in the game came in the second period when Sweden had a 5-on-3 power play for about 1 minute, 30 seconds. Tomcikova didn’t allow them to score.

Family Support

Tomcikova had some support at the game as noted by the Associated Press story:

Tomcikova had her own vocal cheering section in UBC Thunderbird Arena consisting of her mother, father, brother and a Canadian family who hosted her in high school. They wore Slovak jerseys, rattled noisemakers and held up a hand-painted sheet reading: "Go Zuzka Go."

"Everything is new for us at this level, but we’ve got to learn," Tomcikova said.

Notes

- If you look closely on the right side of Tomcikova’s goalie mask, you can see the Bemidji State Unversity beaver logo under Vancouver 2010 stickers. After some research, I found out that Olympic Athletes cannot have anything other than a nation or Olympic logo on uniform. (Photo credit: Associated Press)

- Bemidji State women’s hockey radio announcer Kelly Schultz, who calls the game through 92.1 WMIS-FM and listentothebeavers.com, reported yesterday that Tomcikova was invited to a workout with Ziggy Palffy and Richard Zednik. Those two will be playing for the Slovakian men’s team at the Olympics and had successful NHL careers.

Tweets on Tomcikova:

-@macnlos Hats off to Zuzana Tomcikova (Slovakia). Forget the 18-0 loss to Canada, you are an Olympian and should be proud!

-@prillalar Tomcikova, marry me! #olympics #womenshockey

-@Candidate007 Can someone get the puck outta here, Let’s hear a big round of applause for Goalie Tomcikova, Peppered with 67 shots n only let in 18 goals

-@eugeneson Reason #1851 why I dig women’s hockey. Slovakia goalie Tomcikova has cutesy cartoon animals on her mask. She’s the anti-Nabokov, Kiprusoff!

-@solace82 Olympic womens hockey: canada def. Slovakia 18 freeekin 0. Zuzana tomcikova (slovakia goalie) you held on till the end. I love you! :X

@HockeyCanada: Hat trick for Meghan Agosta, 10-0 Canada, but Zuzana Tomcikova is standing on her head for the Slovaks!

@sroarke_nhl: Wow 7-0 canada after one period and Slovakian goalie Zuzana Tomcikova might have been the best player on the ice. She was under seige

Video

Highlights from the Slovakia-Sweden game via NBC Olympics.
 

Tomcikova talks to the media after the Canada-Slovakia game

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