It took 65 minutes-and then some-to decide a winner, but eventually, Slovenia beat Slovakia 3-2 after a shootout thanks to a game-winning goal from Ziga Jeglic.
A scoreless first period gave way to a flurry of penalties and goals in the final 40 minutes.
Slovenia opened the scoring with a power-play goal early in the second period when a boarding penalty carried over from the first. Blaz Gregorc unleashed a slap shot from the blue line that got though a screen to sneak through Branislav Konrad’s blocker side.
Slovenia doubled its lead soon after on another power play, as Jan Mursak fired a wrist shot through traffic that Anze Kuralt redirected in the slot.
But Slovakia pulled one back late in the second with a power-play goal of its own-and in very similar fashion. Peter Ceresnak uncorked a slap shot from blue line, which Milos Bubela tipped in between the blocker and pad of Gasper Kroselj.
Slovakia completed the comeback at 5:56 in the third period, when Marcel Hascak scored the first even-strength goal of the game. He fired a wrist shot through traffic, and it hit the corner high glove-side past a screened Kroselj.
Both sides fought to find the go-ahead score in a wild finish, but the game headed to overtime, still knotted at 2-2 after 60 minutes. The overtime period couldn’t break the deadlock either, leading to a shootout.
Rok Ticar scored to give Slovenia the lead, but Martin Bakos answered to keep Slovakia alive. It took until the sixth round to decide the winner: Jeglic beat Konrad to his glove side, giving Slovenia a hard-fought 3-2 win.
The result leaves Slovenia, Slovakia and the United States all deadlocked at four points apiece in Group B, meaning all three teams will miss out on a bye to the quarterfinals and will advance to the qualification playoffs.