POPRAD Ė Norway finished the tournament with style, beating Slovakia 5-3. Defenceman Silje HolÝs collected three points, Andrea Dalen and Henriette Sletbak two points each.
It was a disappointing tournament for Slovakia. The hosts entered the Olympic qualification tournament as the highest-ranked team, and one of the favourites to qualify for the Sochi Olympics, but instead, they finished last in Group C played in Poprad, Slovakia.
It just wasnít meant to be. Even though the final game of the tournament had no bearing on the Olympic berth, it was not a meaningless game. The winner would finished third, loser fourth.
Norway got off to a good start, scoring the important first goal of the game before the first period had reached its halfway point. Martine Henriksen and Henriette Sletback won a puck battle in the corner, Sletback dished the puck to the front of the net, and Hege Ask slammed it in from Zuzana Tomcikovaís doorstep. Ask, 37, is the oldest player in the tournament.
Just two minutes and two seconds later, Norway scored their second goal, and Sletback collected her second point of the game when she grabbed Silje HolÝsís rebound and made it 2-0.
And before the period was over, Norway had made it 3-0 thanks to Andrea Dalenís great individual effort. She went from Norwayís blueline to the Slovak zone, battling with a Slovak defenceman, and beat Tomcikova with a wrist shot from a sharp angle.
Slovakia came back in the second period. Jana Kapustova stickhandled her way through the Norwegian defence and beat Jorid Dagfinrud in Norwayís goal with a shot through her five-hole at 1:38.
And just 1:54 later, it was a one-goal game. Marte Carlsson tried to clear the puck from their zone, but instead hit Kapustova, and the puck bounced straight to Janka Culikova who took a step towards the front of the net and beat Dagfinrud with a backhand shot.
Norway had lost a three-goal lead in their first game against Denmark, and on Sunday, they found themselves in the same situation again. A bad turnover on their own blue sent Kapustova a breakaway, and she didnít miss, but instead, tied the game at 9:04, and collected her third point of the game.
This time, though, Norway didnít break. With 7:07 remaining in the period, Helene Martinsen skated over the blueline, cut to the middle and fired a wristshot that beat Tomcikova on the stickside, and gave Norway the lead again.
In the third, Line Bialik - who led her team in tournament scoring - took a great pass from Dalen from the blueline and onetimed it behind Tomcikova to make it 5-3. HolÝsís assist was her third point of the game.