STOCKHOLM – Despite losing 3-1 against Norway, Slovenia had a few encouraging signs in the game. Ziga Jeglic, for one, was impressive.
Jeglic was often found creating scoring chances, especially in the second and third periods. While he had one goal in the game, Jeglic could have easily had another had Norwegian goaltender Lars Haugen not been so exceptional.
In 19:33 minutes of play in the opening game against Norway, Jeglic scored his team’s only goal but also had four shots on goal. He had the third most minutes on the game of any forward, only trailing Rok Ticar and Jan Urbas. Still, the final result – an opening game loss – was a disappointment.
“I felt pretty bad because we had a lot of chances in the second and third period. I guess we have to step up our game and start like we did in the second period. We have to learn from that and go forward.”
While only in his second top division World Championship, Jeglic is very comfortable and clearly fitting in. He made his debut at the 2011 tournament in Slovakia. Slovenia was relegated but that did not stop their plucky team from battling through to win their 2012 Division I tournament on home ice in Ljubljana and earn a spot here in Stockholm.
“The team is more experienced now and we have a few guys with more than one World Championship tournament they’ve played in,” said Jeglic. “I think we can compete even better against higher-ranked teams. We just have to step up our game and be really disciplined. We have to cut down on opponent scoring chances.”
The opportunity to play on a high level in 2011 was important to the 25-year-old native of Kranj.
“I was really excited since I’d played at the B-Pool but this is much bigger and much faster and I’m proud to be part of the Slovenian team and I hope we are going to be even better this year than two years ago.”
To do that, the Slovenes will have to build upon its loss to Norway. They were surging over the final forty minutes and it seems as if they would find a way to tie the score.
“I think teams know that we can play against them and compete at this level,” he said. “Teams are more prepared to take us or any team on but we are a small country and hopefully we can still surprise.”
Whatever happens, Jeglic hopes to be a part of the next important moment in Slovenian hockey history. That would be competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Slovenia has already overcome the odds in qualifying for that event by surprising Belarus and Denmark at the Final Olympic Qualification tournament held in Denmark this past February. Jeglic figured prominently in the Qualifier tying for second in team scoring.
He enjoyed a breakout game in the Qualifier. In a 6-0 win over Ukraine, Jeglic scored a goal and three points. In such a limited time on the national team, he has a memory that will last a lifetime.
“It was amazing and the best memory in my life,” said Jeglic of the February tournament. “It was just amazing when I think about it even now that I get emotional. It was a tough first game against Belarus because they did not expect us to be that good. We surprised them and then we surprised Denmark. It was simply amazing.”