Italy front-runner in Torun

Div. IB: ITA-NED 4-0, ROU-GBR 0-8, UKR-POL 2-1 SO

14.04.2009
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Damian Slabon watches his shoot-out attempt saved by Kontiantyn Simchuk. Photo: Wojtek Szabelski/freepress.pl

2009 IIHF World Championship Division I Group B only top seeded Italy holds a perfect record. The Italians beat the Netherlands, 4-0, while Ukraine needed a shootout to defeat Poland. Great Britain eased past Romania, 8-0. Ukraine - Poland 2-1 (1-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0) SO Game sheet Photos In the first encounter between two of the three top-seeded teams Poland and Ukraine were forced to bring their A-game. They treated the pumped up crowd to an entertaining game full of action. In the end, a shootout was needed to determined the winner. Ukraine scored on all three attempts, making Damian Slabon’s miss for Poland an expensive one. Sergi Varlamov took the game winning shot, skating slowly towards the Polish net, he deked Rafal Radziszewski and backhanded home the win. Like in its previous two games, Poland grabbed a quick lead thanks to Adam Borzecki blast from the top of the circle on a power play. Slowly but surely they Ukraine went searching for the equaliser and got it on a Andri Sriubko slapshot. While the Sokil Kyiv defenseman claimed the puck had went straight through the net, play went on for 90 more seconds until the goal was reviewed. After a long review, the goal was awarded. The tempo remained high throughout the sixty minutes and both goalies were tested on numerous occasions. Poland’s Rafal Radziszewski and Ukraine’s Konstantin Simchuk came up with big saves. Adam Borzecki came closest for the host when his shot from the left circle hit the outside of the far post. The arena in Torun erupted when Poland was given a 5-on-3 situation with just 90 seconds left in regulation and the score tied 1-1. Captain Leszek Laszkiewicz came agonizingly close twice to grab the winner, but his efforts flew just wide. Five minutes of overtime could still not decide on the outcome, forcing the first shootout of the tournament to have Ukraine earn the bonus point. Penalty shootout: Tsyrul 0-1, Slabon – save, Shakhraychuk 0-2, Piekarski 1-2, Varlamov 1-3. Romania - Great Britain 0-8 (0-0, 0-3, 0-5) Game sheet Photos Great Britain picked up three vital points, beating Romania 3-0. Both teams wre winless in their first two games making this a key match in the race to avoid relegation. With the 8-0 shutout, the Brits are now in the better position to stay in Division I. Playing against a higher-ranked team, Romania did a solid job in the first period. The 0-0 stalemate was reflected the action on the ice as both teams had 20 shots each. But Romania collapsed in the second period. Missing a handful of key players for various reasons and with only 19 registered skaters, Romania once again found it too tough to keep things close for the full 60 minutes. At 23:30 Greg Chambers released a slapshot that found the top corner behind Szabolcs Molnar. Jonathan Weaver doubled the lead halfway the period and Colin Shields ensured Great Britain would get its first win tapping home a rebound from a difficult angle with less than a minute left in the period. It was all red, white and blue in the third period as Great Birtain went to work on offense, much to the joy of its vocal, drum-banging fans. The “Hey rock’n roll. GB scored a goal”-chants filled the arena five more times resulting in a lopsided 8-0 victory for the Brits. Greg Chambers led the scoring with two goals and four points for Great Britain and Jody Lehman register a shutout. Great Britain were all over Romania today. Photo: Wojtek Szabelski/freepress.pl  Italy - Netherlands 4-0 (3-0, 0-0, 1-0) Game sheet Photos The Italians virtually clinched the game in the first 20 minutes taking a commanding 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of goals of Trevor Johnson and one from Nicola Fontanive. Much like in yesterday’s game against Great Britain, creating a lead in the first period ensured Italy could save some energy in the remaining periods. With unbeaten Poland and Ukraine still to play, the Italians have the toughest games still to come. Whether it was that the Italians slowed down, or the time-out requested by coach Tom Hartogs after 3-0 goal made a difference, the Dutch stopped the Italian forwards from wreaking havoc. "Italy has the experience of playing at the highest level. They punish you early," Hartogs said. "I called for the time-out as players were not sticking to the game plan and that angered me. It cost us dearly." Manuel de Toni scored Italy's fourth after which both teams had peace with the score. Thomas Tragust recorded his second shutout of the tournament after blanking Romania in his first game. The tournament will continue on Thursday with Italy taking on host Poland. The Netherlands, who are still winless, will play Great Britain. Nicola Fontantive scores Italy's third against the Netherlands. Photo: Wojtek Szabelski/freepress.pl
JOERI LOONEN

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