PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL is represented in the semifinals of the 2004 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship by Team USA coach Peter Laviolette and Team USA goaltender Alex Westlund and Slovakia goaltenders Jan Lasak and Rastislav Stana. The ECHL had a player on 13 of the 16 teams in the tournament that began on April.
Canada will meet Slovakia in the first semifinal game on Saturday while the United States and Sweden will meet in the second semifinal game on Saturday. Canada defeated Sweden in the championship game in 2003. A win on Saturday would give Team USA its first medal opportunity since winning a bronze medal in 1996, the first medal for Team USA at the IIHF World Championship since a bronze back in 1962.
Lasak is 5-0-2 and leads the World Championship with four shutouts, a goals against average of 0.90 and a save percentage of .958. Stana has not appeared in a game for Slovakia. In 1999-2000 with Hampton Roads, Lasak was 36-17-4 with a goals against average of 2.55 and a save percentage of .917.
Westlund is 1-0-0 with a goals against average of 0.00 and a save percentage of 1.000, playing 40 minutes and making 10 saves in an 8-3 win against Denmark on Tuesday. In 2003-04 with Trenton, Westlund was 2-1-0 with a goals against average of 2.01 and a save percentage of .935 in three games. Westlund played for Dayton in 2000-01 and for Toledo and Cincinnati in 2001-02.
ECHL Players in IIHF World Championships Semifinals
Slovakia – Jan Lasak (Hampton Roads, 1999-2000) and Rastislav Stana (Richmond, 2000-02).
United States – Head Coach Peter Laviolette (Wheeling, 1997-98) and Alex Westlund (Dayton, 2000-01; Toledo and Cincinnati, 2001-02; and Trenton, 2003-04).