Slovak defenseman Martin Gernat has experienced a fairly quick rise in his country’s hockey program. The 18-year-old is playing in his first Under-20 World Junior Championship, where he is paired with fellow Edmonton Oilers prospect Martin Marincin on Slovakia‘s top defensive unit.
Slovakian forward Marek Tvrdon has scored at a more than point-per-game pace this season for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Tvrdon is in his second season with the Giants after a first season that was cut short due to an injury. The skilled forward will be depended upon to provide some offense for a Slovak squad that lacks the firepower of the top teams competing at the 2012 World Junior Championship.
Slovakia had to wait until the second day of the 2012 World Junior Championship to play their first game of the tournament. Their opponent, Latvia, proved to be a more formidable foe than maybe the Slovaks had expected, but Slovakia nevertheless came away with a 3-1 win.
Slovakia head coach Ernest Bokros talked to the media about the win after the game.
No doubt that Marián Gáborík (CSB Euro #4, 02-14-1982, 6’1″ 183 lb., LW, Trencín – Extraliga, 50GP 25G-22A-47Pts +1 34PIM) is the top Slovak and European prospect. He has a real chance to be the #1 pick. While CSB ranks him at #4 on the European list, a lot of scouts, GM’s, journalists, and fans do not dispute that he is the best prospect. It does not matter whether Marián will be selected as #1 or 2 or 3. He has all the potential to start in the best hockey league next season and prove his obvious talent. In the last two seasons he refused more serious offers from IHL and QMJHL (where he was picked in the import draft) and stayed to play in the Slovak Elite – Extraliga. However, next season will be a big challenge for him and he will make the account of that.