INNSBRUCK, Austria – The Austrian crowd could finally celebrate goals from national idol Thomas Vanek. The hosts and Kazakhstan (5-1 over Korea) are the only teams on six points after two days. Also: Poles beat Dutch 6-4.Austria – Great Britain 10-5 (4-3, 3-0, 3-2)
After 93:33 he finally scored. There was joy (fans) and relief (Thomas Vanek) when the Buffalo Sabre got his first goal of the tournament, after going scoreless in three periods against Korea and one against Great Britain.
Vanek deflected a shot from defenceman Philippe Lakos in power-play at 13:33 of the middle period and the puck took some bounces before it finally settled behind the goal line. Vanek completed his hat-trick and a four-point night with two third-period goals.
Austria and Kazakhstan remain the only perfect teams after two days of action. Poland chases with five points. All teams have a rest day, Tuesday. Austria and Kazakhstan meet on Friday, in a game that could decide which team will be promoted to the 2009 IIHF World Championship in Switzerland.
The sell-out crowd (3,100) at the Innsbruck TWK Arena was treated to a wild first period, where the home favourites displayed a defence which by no means can be described as top-pool calibre.
Goalie Bernd Bruckler (from Finnish playoff finalist Espoo Blues) didn’t look sharp on two of the goals (Chambers’ 1-1 and Watkins’ 4-3), while the defencemen appeared sloppy on Ashley Taits 3-2, although it was a power play goal.
Austria’s first three goals came on rebounds, after goalie Stevie Lyle made the initial save but Marco Pewal, Roland Kaspitz and Gerd Gruber all profited from the British defence inability to take away the second shot or box out the attackers.
The top line of Thomas Vanek – Thomas Koch – Dieter Kalt was noticeably inactive in the opening period, but when they struck early in the second period, they put the game away for good. Koch scored on a thundering shot at 3:35 and defenceman Gerhard Unterluggauer made it 6-3, assisted by Kalt and Vanek.
After Vanek’s deflection for the seventh goal, the game was all but over. Stephen Murphy came in for Lyle for the third period, but he saw four pucks pass by him, two of them from man of the match Vanek.
Austria plays the Netherlands on Wednesday, but the game of that day is Poland – Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan – Korea 5-1 (2-0, 1-0, 2-1)
Promoted Korea had another difficult task after the team was blanked by Austria yesterday, 8-0. Also the next opponent, Kazakhstan, proved to be a superior opponent, but the South Koreans looked better than the night before.
The Kazakh couldn't sustain the effort after jumping to a 2-0 lead. Artemiy Lazika opened the score with the first power play of the game at 2:04, Andrey Gavrilin doubled the lead after having come from the sin bin at 15:37.
The South Koreans had some opportunities but they couldn't execute. They were not tough enough in front of Sergey Ogureshnikov’s net and they also lacked in discipline. Five minor penalties were called but the Kazakhs didn’t make use of them and Yevgeniy Fadeyev scored the third goal while playing 4-on-4 at 39:25 after three rebounds.
The Austrian crowd showed sympathies for the spirited Far East team, but instead they saw Andrey Gavrilin finding the net for a second time and Alexey Vorontsov’s 5-0 marker. At 52:45, the first Korean goal in this tournament did finally happen when Ki Sung Kim finished a quick attack with the 5-1 goal.Scoring chance for Alexey Vorontsov against Korea goalkeeper Hyun Seung Eum. Photo: puckfans.atClick here for the game's photo gallery.Poland – Netherlands 6-4 (2-2, 1-1, 3-1)
Poland took the first lead after three minutes and ended its first power play with Leszek Laszkiewicz’s goal. But the Poles didn’t keep their intensity and gambled away a lead three times. Nick de Jong equalised at 10:29 but Poland regained lead just one minute later. After a pass from Krzysztof Zapala, Marcin Kolusz shocked Netherland goalkeeper Phil Groeneveld with a slapshot. The next Dutch equaliser came just one second before the horn with Mat Korthuis’ power play goal after a pass to the centre by Casey van Schagen.
Again the Poles regained lead at 24:25. Leszek Laszkiewicz netted his second goal after a counter-attack in a box play situation. Soon after the 3-2, the Poles had a power play but it was the Dutch, who scored a shorthander. After Poland prevented a counter-attack, Doug Stienstra equalised with a penalty shot.
While Poland, which out-shot the Netherlands 41-12, hadn’t been efficient before, the team earned the win in the last period. Adrian Labryga scored the game-winning 4-3 goal at 40:46. Goals from Maciej Urbanowicz with a slapshot at 42:09 and from Adam Borzecki at 51:53 were following before Netherland forward Bradley Smulders’s penalty shot at 59:55 led to the final 6-4 score.Poland also won its game against the Netherlands. Photo: puckfans.atClick here for the game's photo gallery.Click here for scores and statistics.