International Ice Hockey Federation

Reway’s return

Reway’s return

Slovak Canadiens pick wants to impress

Published 29.12.2014 09:49 GMT-5 | Author Martin Merk
Reway’s return
MONTREAL, CANADA - DECEMBER 26: Slovakia's Martin Reway #10 follows the play against Team Canada during preliminary round action at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
When Slovakia beat defending champion Finland 2-1, it was thanks to the heroics of goalie Denis Godla – and also of Martin Reway, who had two assists.

Playing his third World Juniors, Reway is showing leadership as the captain of the team. Being in the province of Quebec is also a homecoming, considering that he played his last two junior years with the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in 2013.

“It’s always nice to come back. I enjoyed my time in Quebec. The guys and the coach were good for me,” Reway said.

“I always have good memories about Quebec and about Montreal with the best fans in the NHL. It’s great to play here. When you have the opportunity to play here, it’s good for everybody on the team.”

Being at the Bell Centre is nothing new for Reway. The Canadiens’ fourth-round draft pick has played exhibition games here with the NHL team and watched games on TV. “It’s nice to be back for sure,” he said.

Just now he’s here in another capacity. In the opening game on Boxing Day he was with the visiting team, and the Slovaks suffered an 8-0 defeat against Canada.

“I told them it’s going to be a great atmosphere in Montreal and it’s going to be hard against Canada because everybody is cheering for Canada,” Reway said. “But now the game is behind us. Our players have never played against players like these and fans in Europe and Canada are very different.”

For Reway it’s also good to be back in terms of visibility. He decided to move into professional hockey in Europe rather than playing another year of junior hockey in the QMJHL. Now he wants to show the Canadiens first-hand how he has improved by playing for Sparta Prague in the Czech Extraliga and the new pan-European Champions Hockey League.

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“I played the World Championship with the senior team in Belarus [in May 2014] and there I just thought it’s the right time to move on in my career and play against pros,” Reway said about his signing of a one-year contract in the Czech capital during the off-season.

“That’s the best way I can improve my game both in the offensive and defensive areas. The coach really wants me to be an all-round player, so the situation is the best for me.”

Reway was influential in his team’s surprising win on Day 2. He sent a nice pass to linemate Peter Cehlarik for the 1-1 goal against Finland, and also set up the 2-1 game-winning goal by defenceman Matus Holenda. It was these goals and the magic of goalkeeper Godla that resulted in one of the early surprises of the event. It was Slovakia’s first win against Finland in six years after high-scoring defeats (6-0, 8-5, 11-4) against the same opponent in the last four years.

“We have to play every game like this. It’s a short tournament and everybody can beat everybody. You have to be in the right position in the right time, you need luck, you need to be ready 100 per cent every game for every hit, every pass, every shot,” the Slovak captain said.

“We proved that we can beat the better teams and it’s a big win for us, but we always have to play this way to be in good position for the quarter-finals.”

Slovakia will have another game against one of the better-seeded teams today against Team USA. That’ll be followed by a match against Germany tomorrow – a possible must-win game for both teams in the battle for a quarter-final berth.

But for now the focus is on the next game. And winning both games could be crucial if the Slovaks want to improve on their eighth-place finishes from the last two years.

“Against the Americans it will be a similar challenge for us like against the Canadians. They have some of the top players of this tournament. It will be a big and difficult game for us,” Reway said.

“We have to play the way we played against Finland. We have to help each other, and that’s the way Slovakia has to play. We’re a team and don’t count on star players.”


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