Austria versus Slovakia / Image: GEPA pictures
Austria's national ice hockey team started the Olympic qualification tournament with a defeat against the tournament favorites. The ÖEHV selection had to admit defeat in Bratislava hosts Slovakia 1: 2 (0: 1.0: 1.1: 0) on Thursday. In order to preserve the relatively small chance of participating in the Olympic Games in Beijing in February 2022, Belarus must be defeated on Friday (15.15 / live ORF Sport +).
Roger Bader's team fell behind early (2nd) in front of 4,200 spectators in the Ondrej Nepela Arena, but then played a good first third. After the first break, the Slovaks increased the pressure and took a 2-0 lead with a lucky goal (29th). But the Austrians showed fighting spirit and morale against the superior Slovaks in the finish and came through Brian Lebler to the connection goal (53.). However, they could not use a huge opportunity in the minority (55th) and another chance in the final seconds to compensate. Belarus is already waiting on Friday, which surprisingly had to admit defeat to the Poles 0-1.
The game started badly for the Bader troop. After 106 seconds, Libor Hudacek defeated goalkeeper David Kickert with a solid shot into the near corner. But the team around captain Thomas Raffl fought their way into the game, survived almost two minutes with one man less on the ice in the middle of the first period and thus kept the game open.
After a fairly balanced third of the start, the Slovaks made strong gains. The red-white-red team was hardly dangerous in front of the opposing goal and fell 2-0 down with a durable goal. A shot by Martin Gernat slipped through the schooner into the otherwise strong kickert. The Slovaks then seemed to have the game under control, but the Austrians came back again.
Lebler after preliminary work by Dominic Zwerger provided a lot of energy for the final phase with his connection goal. However, when a counterattack was outnumbered, Ali Wukovits did not bring the puck ideally to Patrick Obrist, who was ready to shoot.