After shocking loss to Slovenia, Slovakia looks to rebound against Russia

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Through two games in the men’s Olympic hockey competition, Slovakia, four years removed from a fourth-place finish in Vancouver, has suffered a pair of shocking losses.

It started with a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of the U.S., and was followed up by an upset 3-1 loss to Slovenia on Saturday. Now, a date with a likely fired up Russian squad is on the docket for Slovakia on Sunday.

The criticism has grown, with goalie Jaroslav Halak questioning the age of the 2014 Slovak edition, and the depth the nation has in its hockey pool. But they’ll try to pull it together in the final preliminary game for them in the tournament, and heading into the elimination rounds.

But the loss to Slovenia, ranked 17th in the IIHF men’s hockey rankings, seems like it could be particularly difficult to get over.

We have to swallow this one,” Marian Hossa told the Chicago Sun-Times. “We know tomorrow is a really hard opponent, [so] get ready for tomorrow.

“After this disappointing loss, it’s going to be hard. It’s hard to lose a game like this. But there is still one more game in the group, and you never know.”