Lightning Pleased With Mihalik's Progress

While Team Slovakia has failed to have a good showing in Sweden at this year's World Junior Championships, going 0-4 in round robin play and losing their first relegation game, the Lightning organization has been pleased with the play of 2005 first rounder Vladimir Mihalik, a 6-8 defenseman from the WHL's Prince George Cougars.

Mihalik has 1 goal, 2 penalty minutes, and a minus-1 rating for the tournament and was named Team Slovakia's top player for their game against Sweden.

One member of the Lightning scouting staff currently in Sweden said, "Mihalik is maturing nicely, improving steadily, and he did some good things here."

Lightning prospect Marek Bartanus, a winger with Slovakia and Owen Sound of the OHL, has "had his moments" of good play in the tournament, but "it is up to him to show it on a consistent basis."

Consistency is something Bartanus has fought with since coming to North America to play. The 6-3 winger is equally prone to prolonged scoring droughts - such as this past month - as much as he is his hot streaks - such as last year's playoffs and the start of the 2006 season.

The 2005 fourth rounder currently sits at 4 goals and 12 assists for the year with Owen Sound. He had a strong showing during prospect camps this past summer is trying to earn a contract this coming spring.

In Sweden, Bartanus has 2 assists and a minus-2 rating to go with 6 penalty minutes in Slovakia's 5 games.

Slovakia next plays January 4 against Belarus in their second and final relegation game. Slovakia defeated Belarus 5-3 in exhibition play before the WJCs - a game that featured a nasty third period scrum in which both Mihalik and Bartanus earned double-minors.