IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Div 1 Group B
Italy v Japan 4-3
Italy were yet again victors in a one goal game after making a slow start.
No overtime required for the Italians this time though as a shorthanded goal early in the third
period would prove enough.
Japan would run into early penalty trouble in the first game of the day, taking three penalties within the first seven minutes.
On the final of those Italy would finally capitalise with a strike from Vinatzer.
Japan were unshaken and tied the game up just two minutes later.
Hikosaka showing speed down the left wing, drove to the side of the net and his backhand somehow snuck it’s way through Morandell’s pads. Roll forward another minute of play and Japan jumped into a 2-1 lead and what a gorgeous goal it was. Miura led a 2 on 2 break for his team but did all the work himself with a curl and drag move and one time finish.
It was almost 3-1 before the end of the first as Suzuki showed have done better than shooting straight at the Italian net minder.
The young man would atone for this early in the second frame as he put the finishing touch to a rapid fire tic-tac-toe play that was beautiful to watch for everyone but the Italian coach.
He would have like the way his team responded though as Italy scored within 28 seconds of the Japanese third goal, with Terzago finding the net.
Almost at the midway marker the Italian comeback would be complete with some nice play behind the net from Hochkofler and Terzzago setting up Pavlu to score.
Japan would come close to responding to the Italians short handed marker but some good goaltending kept them at bay. Italy almost made the game safe with a shot ringing off the crossbar before the final few seconds almost provided more late drama.
With the extra attacker on, a mad scramble ensued in the Italian blue paint after the initial shot was saved, two whacks at a rebound but remarkably the puck stayed out and the final buzzer saved Italy from going the extra distance the second game running.
Italy Best Player: Joachim Ramoser
Japan Best Player: Kazuki Kawamura
France v Ukraine 2-0
In the most physical and hard hitting encounter of the tournament thus far, the French team ran out winners in the lowest scoring game after two days play.
Antoine Bonvalot would record the first shutout by any goaltender but Ukraine in all honesty didn’t make him work all that hard to register a duck egg.
France would make Ukraine pay for a rash of penalties, taking advantage of 5 on 3 man advantage to score straight from a face-off win. Bouvet with his second goal of the tournament.
Despite allowing this goal, Zakharchenko was the main reason Ukraine were in this game as he made a series of saves in the second , and could count on the post to bail him out as France came close on a 2 on 1 break.
The French coach Philippe Bozon must have been worried about his team’s inability to put this game to bed but eventually the second goal would arrive seven minutes into the final period.
An innocuous looking play down the right and with nothing much on, Douay took a speculative shot that found it’s way over the shoulder of the otherwise impressive Zakharchenko.
Ukraine would only muster seven shots in the final period as they never looked like troubling France.
Ukraine Best Player: Eduard Zakharchenko
France Best Player: Floran Douay
Kazakhstan v GB 6-1
Kazakhstan yet again showed their class, as they blew past a gallant but often ill disciplined GB team.
Five of the six goals were on the power play, which is a potent weapon for the tournament favourites.
Kazakhstan dominated the early going as GB could barely touch the puck and when they did, it was iced regularly to keep them under pressure.
The impressive Mikhailis would crash a shot against the under side of the crossbar and another shot that Goss got a piece of, would find a way to safety via the iron.
Ironically GB’s first best chance of the game came on their first penalty kill as Liam Stewart led a 2 on 1 rush. His backhand effort was well stopped, but in the melee that occurred afterwards, it was Stewart who incredibly ended up taking a penalty for slashing.
A slapshot from the point by defensemen Sergienko with plenty of traffic in front opened the scoring on the two man advantage.
Just down by one goal after 20 minutes, GB could count themselves fortunate despite late chances at the end of the period. They were out shot 18-7 which was a fair reflection of the play.
Kazakhstan would yet again hit the crossbar before scoring their only even strength goal of the game just four minutes into the second period. A cross ice feed from Grents was meat and drink for Savitski to double the lead.
Remarkably GB showed resilience despite this hammer blow and responded by getting on the board two minutes later. Jordan Cownie showing great skill to take the puck forwards with his skate, released a shot from range which bounced straight back to him off the backboards and he was able to slam home his own rebound before Volosenko in net could respond..
You could see the home team grow in confidence and Stewart came so close to tying the ice as a cross ice pass just evaded him with a yawning net awaiting him if he’d been able to control the puck.
Another Kazakhstan power play marker would end the GB momentum as their captain Sergienko showed great patience with the puck before releasing a wicked wrist shot that Goss didn’t even see, let
alone have the opportunity to stop. Oliver Betteridge managed to instigate his own breakaway shortly afterwards and although his attempt was stopped, the trailing defenseman had hooked him, leading to a penalty shot. His effort would be well saved by the Kazakhstan netminder and Savitski would score his second of the game with 36 seconds left in the second frame to effectively render the contest dead.
The third period turned into a barn show as the players took turns to head to the, with eight penalties called, seven to GB as they became increasingly frustrated.
Shestakov and Kabiev would tally the final two goals of the game, which was a little unfair on Adam Goss in net, who had another fine game despite the lop sided score line.
Kazakhstan Best Player: Kirill Savitski
GB Best Player: Adam Goss
Check out the post game below as I spoke with GB coach Peter Russell and he was honest and realistic as possible.
Wednesday is a rest day, with the next round of games on Thursday.
1) Kazakhstan 6 Pts
2) France 6 Pts
3) Italy 5 Pts
4) GBR 1 Pts
5) Japan 0 Pts
6) Ukraine 0 Pts
Day 1 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship http://wp.me/p2gDti-ap
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