IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Div 1 Group B
Ukraine v Kazakhstan 2-7
The opening game of the tournament was a goal fest but not one that Ukraine will want to remember.
They almost opened the scoring just 10 seconds into the game however, after a terrible turnover but Martyshko was denied by Sevidov in the Kazakhstan net.
Kinstler and Mikhailis were creating havoc every time they were on a shift and Grents was impressing as Kazakhstan began to take a grip on the game.
Koshelev would open the scoring for them though, going top shelf with a nice wrist shot.
The lead would be doubled at the 12.36, with Kinstler scoring on a rebound from Mikhailis.
To their credit Ukraine responded within 90 seconds. Petrangovsky showing speed before dishing the puck to Kutsevych who beat the goalie with a beautiful move to half the deficit.
Two late first period goals would put a dagger in the hearts of Ukraine as Mikhailis on the power play and a shot from the point by Ibraibekov extending the lead to 4-1 for Kazakhstan.
A change of goalies for Ukraine starting the second period had the desired effect as they stepped up they game and brought more physicality. Six minutes into the frame, their captain Zakharov would see his initial backhand effort blocked but was alert enough to smash home the rebound.
Kazakhstan would respond by hitting the post but Ukraine were pushing hard and were unlucky on several occasions not to pull the game closer heading to the third.
There would be no comeback as three goals from Kazakhstan in 6 minutes killed the game as a contest.
Mikhailis on the power play after a nice passing movement, Kinstler and then Mikhailis would complete the scoring.
Mikhailis finished with 3G/2A, Kinstler with a pair of goals and assists and Sevidov made 38 saves, coming up big in the second period when Ukraine were pushing hard.
Ukraine were unfortunate to come up against a very powerful Kazakhstan team who look favourites to win this group after this performance. Ukraine will provide more than a handful for any team if they play a full 60 minute game.
Great save from Kazakhstan goalie reaching back as Ukraine were pushing them hard.
Japan v France 3-4
This game almost produced an upset as Japan pushed the touted French team all the way in a fascinating encounter.
France strolled into the lead just 2 minutes into the game as their fluent passing was finished with aplomb by a slapshot from Douay.
To everyone’s surprise Japan would hit back on their first power play opportunity of the game.
Suzuki fanning on his initial, took everyone by surprise enabling him to sneak the puck past Bonvalot to tie the game.
Japan grew in confidence as France seemed subdued, no more so than on their stony faced bench.
A 5 on 3 penalty kill by the Japanese spurred them on even more, enough for them to take the lead.
Kudo showing electric speed down the right side before planting his wicked wrist shot into the net, leading to a mass celebration on the Japan bench.
Six minutes later and they would lead 3-1 with a power play marker from Aoki.
France needed a spark from somewhere and with 2 minutes remaining in the second frame they’d find it with a power play goal of their own. Carpentier with a seeing eye shot finding the top right hand corner of the net.
With a power play to start the third period, France would waste no time tying the game at three.
An easy finish for Saint Andre with a rebound laying in the blue paint just waiting to be tucked home.
Both teams would exchange power plays as the game became tense.
France thought they had won the game on a breakaway effort but despite Perret’s celebration the puck hadn’t quite crossed the line with Sasaki doing just enough to deny him.
Japan would be denied a well earned point and in heart breaking fashion.
With 59 seconds left to play Laplace would rip another great shot into the top right hand corner of the net. Worthy of winning any game and more impressive because the puck was bouncing before he struck it.
Bogdanoff had a multi-point game with a pair of assists for France, whilst Sasaki made 38 saves for Japan.
Great Britain v Italy. 3-4 OT
If Japan’s loss was heart breaking, this was nothing compared to GB’s opening day defeat.
The hosts led 3-2 with 32 seconds left but with Italy having a two man advantage, a low shot from Ramoser found the bottom right hand corner of the net. Such a shame for GB and especially Adam Jones who’s inexperience in taking a delay of game penalty, ultimately cost his team two points. Jones has been having a really solid game at that point, belying his tender age.
In overtime it was more pain for GB, as they almost scored when a deflected shot just floated wide but Italy went up the other end of the rink with Ramoser completed his hat-trick.
None of this should detract from what was a gutsy and determined performance from GB who gave everything they had.
From the opening face-off, which Liam Stewart won, GB mixed it with their more illustrious hockey opponents. Cownie would go close early, denied by a fine pad stop. Goss had an outstanding game in net for the hosts and he kept it scoreless nine minutes in, as an Italian forward all alone was left bewildered at how he didn’t score.
Shortly after killing their second penalty of the game GB would open the scoring. Russel jumping out of the box and joining the rush. A broken play followed and the puck fell nicely for Bobby Chamberlain who released a blistering shot to beat Rabanser.
Exactly two and half minutes later and the crowd were in hockey heaven as GB doubled their lead.
Clements would shoot the puck wide, but Venus would collect and feed Stewart from behind the net.
On his international debut Stewart showed great hands by feeding the puck across for Mackie to tap home.
Italy were never going to lay down and they roared back in the second period.
Ramoser with a shot straight from a face-off win and Lacedelli with goals in under four minutes tied the game up.
To GB’s credit they weren’t disheartened and responded with a second man advantage goal of the game. Creating a 3 on 2 rush, Hook entered the Italian zone with speed and his delicate drop pass found Cownie, who’s finish was a thing of beauty.
The third period would be a tense affair with both teams exchanging chances before the finish that broke the hearts of the young GB team.
Post Game Notes:
Adam Goss was great in net. Very solid performance, which GB will need through this week.
Duggan (15) and Antonov (16), the two youngsters of the team were put on a line together and competed really well, even with the physical side of the game. Duggan won 8 of his 10 face-offs and didn’t look at all nervous.
Liam Stewart had a good debut, keeping his game simple and was good in the dot. His line with Venus and Mackie was effective and showed signs of chemistry.
Cownie had a two point game and his line showed plenty of speed and endeavour. Was named best player for GB.
Ramoser was the difference and to be fair to the young man he had a stand out game for the Italians.
Post game interview with Peter Russell below.
Day 2 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship http://wp.me/p2gDti-ax
Day 3 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship http://wp.me/p2gDti-aH
Day 4 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship http://wp.me/p2gDti-aV
Day 5 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship http://wp.me/p2gDti-b1