Sweden’s Isac Lundestrom celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates at Olympic Sports Centre, Riga, Latvia, May 30, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

BRATISLAVA – After experiencing the worst start to the Ice Hockey World Championship in the last 60 years, Sweden was on the edge of elimination but reignited its hopes of advancing into the last eight after defeating Slovakia 3-1 in a tight battle on Sunday.

Slovakia is now third in the Group A standings with 12 points, Sweden is fourth with 9.

With Slovakia’s starting goalie Julius Hudacek being rested after several tough matches, Adam Huska stepped up for his national team debut and offered a solid performance.

“I patiently waited for my chance. I was a tad nervous at first but I quickly shook it off and felt comfortable in goal,” said the New York Rangers prospect after saving 26 of Sweden’s 28 shots on goal.

The Slovaks were the more active team in the first period but Huska’s counterpart Adam Reideborn defused all of their opportunities.

In the final minute of the first period, Peter Cehlarik managed to get the puck past Reideborn when his off-angle shot bounced off one of Sweden’s defenders standing in front of the goal and found its way behind the goal line, 1-0 Slovakia.

The high-tempo clash continued in the second period and again, both goalies stole the spotlight with their superb performances. In the 31st minute, the Swedes evened up the score with yet another unusual goal as Max Friberg’s pass bounced off a defender and flew over Huska only to get swept in mid-air by Marcus Sorensen.

Halfway through the last period, Sweden capitalized on a powerplay, squeezing every last bit of energy out of the Slovakian penalty-kill team and Victor Olofsson sniped a wrist-shot past Huska through bodies standing in front of him, making it 2-1.

The Slovaks had several opportunities to tie the game, and even had the advantage of a powerplay, and pulled their goalie in the final moments but Sweden managed to get a hold of the puck and send in for an empty-netter.