IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Div 1 Group B
France v Kazakhstan 2-4
Kazakhstan made it four wins and put themselves top of the group with victory over France, putting some pressure on the Italians who were to hit the ice next.
France will lament letting the lead slip on two occasions and a power play unit that failed to take
full advantage of their chances as special teams proved to be crucial.
France opened the scoring just 57 seconds in, on their first man advantage of the game.
A pass out in front by Douay was jammed home at the second attempt by Perret.
Kazakhstan would tie the game up before the end of the first period after a rash of penalties.
Grents coming out of the box joined the rush and upon receiving the puck, sent a seeing eye shot into the top right hand corner of the net.
French goaltender Banvalot had to be at his best early in the second period, especially when making a shoulder save after a shot handcuffed him. Kevin Bozon would thank his goaltender by creating the go ahead goal. The architect of a turnover he laid the puck off to Douay who’s low shot beat Sevido’s glove hand.
Another sequence of penalties followed as the game became feisty and a little nasty at times.
A real edge to the encounter with medals at stake.
It was during a France power play that Kazakhstan would yet again tie the game.
Shestakov sending Savitski away on a breakaway and the skilled forward out waited Bonvalot before firing upstairs from an acute angle.
After surviving two 5 on 5 penalty kills and a five minute major penalty, Kazakhstan would take the lead for the first time with under six minutes left in the second frame.
A pass from Koshelev found the dangerous Sergienko with time and space to measure a shot, which although Bonvalot got a piece of with his pad, couldn’t stop finding the back of his net.
France would have three further chances with the man advantage in the final period but couldn’t find a way to crack the Kazakhstan defence. In fact there was barely a chance to speak of.
The killer blow from Kazakhstan came from Ivan Kinstler as he found himself with the puck between the hash tags and his wrist shot had the French net minder beat all ends up without a defensemen in sight.
A defeat that left top seeds France in danger of going home without a medal.
Best Player of the game:
France – Antoine Bonvalot (Goaltender)
Kazakhstan – Semyon Koshelev (Forward)
Italy v Ukraine 4-2
Italy would be pushed all the way by a Ukranian team who have improved through this tournament but would fight back from behind to record their fifth straight victory, claiming the gold medal and promotion.
The game started in slow and tepid fashion which wasn’t helped by a nasty looking injury to an Italian player who had to be carried off the ice.
Giovanni Morini would open the scoring for the Italians on a turnover, beating the goaltender with a spinorama move in front of the net after six minutes.
Ramoser would almost double the lead shortly afterwards but fired his shot wide.
Ukraine’s power play has been awful so far in this tournament, failing to score on 19 attempts.
On their 20th they would score today. A wrist shot from Sirchenko with traffic in front found the twine to level the score at the midway point of the period.
The second frame would be dominated for the most part by the Ukraine team, who arguable played their best hockey of the tournament. With a shot at taking the bronze medal spurring them on, they would take a 2-1 lead with a cross ice feed from Kuzmik finding it’s way through traffic to Pidgursky standing alone back door who finished neatly.
There was no response from Italy as Ukraine continued to pile on the pressure, before needlessly conceding a penalty. As good teams do, Italy made them pay. A low shot from Pavlu was spilled by the glove hand of Zakharchenko and there was the Italian captain Hochkofler to slam home the rebound.
Paolo Morini then went close as the tide was well and truly turned.
Pavlu and Hochkofler were causing havoc every time they hit the ice and it would be those two who combined to set up Ramoser to score the go ahead goal with 1:53 remaining in the second .
The next goal would be crucial and Italy would score it early in the third period.
Terzago down the right wing sent a speculative shot towards the net that Zakharchenko somehow let past him short side. A real shame for the net minder who has had a fantastic tournament since starting the second period of the first game in relief of Shevchuk.
With a 4-2 lead Italy didn’t go into their shell and looked the more likely to score again to extend their lead. Ramoser should have had his second of the game on the breakaway but fired wide when he clearly should have done better.
It was inconsequential though as Italy held firm to claim the gold.
Best Player of the game:
Italy – Jan Pavlu (Forward)
Ukraine – Sergi Kuzmik (Forward)
Those two results meant Italy took Gold, Kazakhstan the Silver, top seeds France left with Bronze and Ukraine in fourth position.
GB v Japan 4-2
As expected before the tournament it was left to these two teams to fight out the relegation battle.
Despite having lost every game so far, Japan had proved themselves worthy adversary’s and would prove no push over for a GB team that had exceeded expectations coming into this final game.
As per previous games GB had to rely on goaltender Adam Goss to keep them in the game and he came up big just four minutes in to deny a Japanese 2 on 1 break.
Japan were slightly on top with GB nerves early in this game until they finally put themselves on the board with 6:31 remaining in the first period.
A pass slid pass down the right from Godfrey found Jordan Cownie who waited for the perfect moment to send a defense splitting cross ice feed to Floyd Taylor who finished top shelf.
The goal seemed to energise a tentative GB side and they started to put pressure on the Japanese
Earning themselves a power play but never really got themselves set up to create any chances.
Just five minutes into the second period and Japan drew level.
A turnover on the boards allowed them to fashion the opportunity for Suzuki to beat Goss’s glove hand upstairs for his fourth goal of the tournament.
Just 46 seconds later and Japan went in front. A shot took a fortunate deflection and putting home the puck after a scramble in front was Kaneko.
A pair of penalties would see some 4 on 4 play and Liam Stewart almost took advantage of the extra room on the ice, seeing his effort tipped wide by a defenseman’s stick.
GB needed some inspiration and Cownie, who has had an impressive tournament, was the man to step up yet again.
Some nifty stick handling enabled him to create some space for himself and find Chamberlain out in front of the net to tie the game.
Japan would come close to re-taking the lead but some fantastic work from Godfrey to deny them by poke checking the puck away from the forward with Goss beaten.
Work hard and you will be rewarded. Well that’s what GB did to take a 3-2 lead.
A great effort on the boards to keep the puck alive allowed them to fashion a slick passing movement involving Chamberlain, Cownie and then Hook to blast the puck home in close.
GB kept up the pressure after the go-ahead goal, peppering the Japanese net with shots at every chance with rebounds not quite falling their way
Japan started the final frame like a desperate team, knowing they had to turn around this game in regulation to avoid relegation.
Hitting the iron just two and half minutes into the period and then being denied by another fine save from Adam Goss just 40 seconds later.
GB’s penalty kill has struggled at times against impressive opponents in this group, but they really came to the fore to deny Japan on two occasions.
As the clock ticked down it looked less likely the Japanese were even going to tie the game up, let alone take the regulation victory and GB finished it off with an empty netter with just five seconds remaining.
Fitting perhaps it should be Liam Stewart to score that goal, who after getting his legs under him, has been a real force playing for his country for the first time.
Survival for Great Britain in this group is a real achievement and the plaudits should go out to Peter Russell and his coaching staff for putting together a young team and for those guys to pull through.
Best Player of the game:
GB – Lewis Hook (Forward)
Japan – Rikiya Matsumoto (Forward)
GOLD – Italy
SILVER – Kazakhstan
BRONZE – France
5th Great Britain
Best Players of the tournament:
Goaltender – Martin Rabanser (Italy)
Defenseman – Yuri Sergienko (Kazakhstan)
Forward – Kirill Svitsky (Kazakhstan)
Italian post game celebrations
Day 1 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship http://wp.me/p2gDti-ap
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