IIHF Men’s U18 WC (Div 2/GrpA) Day Five Review

Sunday 30th March 2014
Day Five

Game Thirteen Romania v Netherlands

In a completely lopsided game, at least for two periods, it was Romania who somehow contrived to get a huge win in regulation.
The Netherlands out-shot Romania 28-8 through forty minutes and out chanced them but it was Romania who held a 1-0 lead.
A late power play tally in the first period from Robert Gyorgy was assisted by both the Rokaly brothers.
In fact it should have been 2-0 after the 1st period as on a 2 on 1 break with the clock ticking down, Norbert Rokaly contrived to miss a fantastic chance in close.
Netherlands would fire seventeen shots in the second frame but were denied by great goaltending and a certain degree of misfortune.
Two late chances for Van Nes and Kluijtman were both turned aside in the final 80 seconds by fine pad saves.
The lack of a tying goal then proved to be the turning point as Romania capitalised on their opponents who were taking more risks and looking a tired team.
The Rokaly brothers combining on a breakaway with Szilard scoring with a neat finish from in tight.
The game would be put out of sight with four minutes remaining as first Norbert Rokaly and then Gereb with a fabulous strike would complete a 4-0 victory.
The win meant Romania would leapfrog GB in the standings, leaving the hosts need at least a point against table topping Lithuania to avoid relegation.
Final: Romania 4 Netherlands 0 (Romania 3 Points – Netherlands 0 Points)
Best player of the game:
Romania: Mihai Sotir
Netherlands: Jonne de Bonth

Game Fourteen Korea v Croatia

Both teams needed a win to threaten Lithuania’s hold on the gold medal position which made this an intriguing encounter.
Croatia had the beast early chance as Krnic escaped on a breakaway but Seo in the Korean net made a fine save.
It would be the Croatian’s who opened the scoring as a face-off win from Platuzic was smashed home by Milicic.
Inside of three minutes Korea responded as Croatia gave far too much time and space to Yeajun Kim and he rifled his shot home before Rosandic could blink.
Korean ended the first the better team and took that play into the middle frame, taking the lead six minutes in. Yeajun Kim capitalising on a loose puck and scoring with a nice backhand to forehand move.
It was Croatia’s turn to respond in good time as Korea’s lead barely last four minutes.
The second ended with a late melee, meaning we began the final twenty minutes four on four.
A messy power play marker which Fran Gjoni was credited with.
A terrible error from the otherwise brilliant Rosandic in this tournament, allowed Hyeongcheol Song to give Korea a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Croatia should have tied the game with a full two minute man advantage with nine minutes remaining, but far too much passing and keeping the puck to the outside, gave Korea every chance to kill it off.
An empty netter sealed the deal for Korea, which mean Croatia were assured of a bronze medal, while Korea were hoping GB could do them a favour by beating Lithuania in regulation to earn them the gold.
Final: Korea 4 Croatia 2 (Korea 3 Points – Croatia 0 Points)
Best player of the game:
Korea: Jeongyeon Choi
Croatia: Fran Gjoni

Game Fifteen Great Britain v Lithuania

It was a simple equation for both teams. A single point for Lithuania meant they would take the gold medal and promotion while GB required at least a single point to avoid relegation.
There were no thought’s of taking it easy though as Lithuania went for the jugular as the team exchanged early chances.
Laukitaits hit the crossbar before his team would take the lead through Bogdziul.
To GB’s credit they didn’t fold under the pressure of conceding the first goal but battled their way into the game and were unfortunate to fall 2-0 behind as Laukitaits put home a rebound off the backboards with an impressive finish.
It looked bleak for GB but cue a huge second period fight back that had the fans at the Dumfries Ice Bowl lifting the roof off.
Just 1:46 into the middle frame and Antonov following up the play, tapped home a rebound.
It only took a further 28 seconds to tie the game as GB earned a power play which Sam Duggan converted.
Jordan Hedley would be called into action as Lithuania pushed back immediately, mostly through the Laukitaits line. The unthinkable then happened as GB took a 3-2 lead. Alex Forbes doing incredibly well to make contact with a rolling puck and his rocket of a shot was in before the netminder could move.
GB were then subject to a couple of questionable penalty calls but like the good team they are, Lithuania made it count. That man again Arturas Laukitaits tied it up on the power play before an individual effort two minutes gave him his hat-trick and Lithuania the lead after forty minutes.
Lewis Hook went so close to tying the game before the end of the second and that seemed to energise to the team starting the final period.
Luc Johnson has dislocated his shoulder earlier in the tournament and after having it popped back in, had to miss a game. So perhaps it was fitting that the young man was in the right place at the right time to stab home the rebound on a shot from Buglass.
Tied at 4-4 with eight minutes to go, that single point was still in reach for GB to stave off relegation but they looked the most likely to steal the regulation win as Lithuania perhaps became a little nervous.
The final buzzer brought a mass celebration from the Lithuanian’s and less so from GB, who probably thought they should never have been in this position to begin with.
Overtime would solve nothing and Lithuania would take the irrelevant extra point in the shootout.
Final: Great Britain 4 Lithuania 5 Shootout Win (GB 1 Point – Lithuania 2 Points)
Best player of the game:
GB: Ivan Antonov
Lithuania: Ilya Cetervak

1) Lithuania
2) Korea
3 Croatia
4) Netherlands
5) Great Britain
6) Romania

Great Britain will be relieved to avoid relegation but they will be also be upset they weren’t challenging for a medal. The two opening games of the campaign were winnable and they held positions of strength in both before a lack of concentration or discipline let them down.
Plenty will have be learnt, especially by the rookies, and I continue to be impressed by Ivan Antonov and Sam Duggan. Alex Forbes was another standout performer and is one to note.

Lithuania very much deserved the Gold medal and promotion. A strong and disciplined team, they played the most consistent hockey during the tournament while also having their best players turn up on a game by game basis. Along with Croatia, they had the best goaltending during the week, which is vital in junior World Championships.





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