INNSBRUCK, Austria – Kazakhstan needed a shoot-out to defeat Poland, while Austria struggled against the Netherlands. But the two teams will play for the promotion on Friday.Austria – Netherlands 5-1 (0-0, 1-1, 4-0)
Austria is still waiting the 'big games' against the other favourites Kazakhstan and Poland, but in tonight’s game against the Netherlands, the Austrians almost overlooked the Dutch in the first two periods. The hosts had a weak start and gave the Netherlands several chances, including Jamie Schaafsma’s breakaway at 5:34.
From the second period, the Austrians had a better performance and scored after 57 seconds. Philipp Lukas scored after getting a pass from the end boards from Oliver Setzinger. Dieter Kalt hit the post at 30:30, missing the chance to double the lead. The Dutch took the opportunity to surprise and Doug Stienstra equalised at 33:58.
The Austrians started the last period with a rush again. The Netherlands took a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty and Christoph Brander was in the right spot when Netherlands goalie Phil Groeneveld deflected a shot by Setzinger, who had another assist. Three minutes later, a shot by Dieter Kalt was deflected by a Dutch defenceman into his own net and it was 3-1 for the Austrians.
At 52:48, it was Austria’s NHL star Thomas Vanek, scoring when he couldn’t be stopped coming from behind the net by two Dutch, he moved the puck around goalie Groeneveld to score the 4-1 tally. Just 80 seconds later, Vanek extended the lead to 5-1. The Dutch resistance was finally broken down.
“We didn’t play our game but something else the first two periods,” Setzinger said. “We didn’t expect that they will resist so fiercely. Tight games are often decided in the third period and one needs to be patient. It was a good preparation for the next game against Kazakhstan.” The hosts are expected to have harder games against the Kazakhs and Poland when they play for promotion to the 2009 World Championship in the neighbouring country Switzerland. Setzinger: “We just expect two wins – nothing else.”Click here for the game's photo gallery.Christoph Brander scored the game-winning goal against the Netherlands. Photo: puckfans.atPoland – Kazakhstan 3-4 (0-1, 0-1, 3-1, 0-0, 0-1) SO
Kazakhstan was the winner of the first ground-breaking game for promotion in the World Championship Division I Group A. The Kazakhs edged Poland in a shootout thriller, which ended after 24 shots and Konstantin Kassatkin’s game-winning goal.
The first goal of the game was a lucky one. At 9:40, while on the power play, Andrey Gavrilin surprised Poland goalkeeper Rafal Radziszewski with a shot between the pads. Kazakhstan was the better team and had many chances with its quick attacks. Andrey Spiridonov had one at 22:17, when he scored via the left post after a centering pass from Alexey Vorontsov. The 2-0 lead matched to the actions during two periods with Kazakhstan outshooting Poland 21-10, but the game was a thirller in the last period.
Poland came back when Krzysztof Zapala scored just 49 seconds into the third period. Kazakhstan restored the two-goal lead with a goal from Yevgeniy Ushkov at 44:20 but four minutes later, Poland scored when Leszek Laszkiewicz scored after Kazakhstan goalie Sergey Ogureshnikov stopped blocked a shot by Jaroslaw Klys. The Poles continued to storm back and finally, at 56:30, they equalised when Marcin Jaros scored from the blue line.
The overtime was scoreless, while during the penalty shoot-out, the goalkeepers had more success than the shooters. After ten shots, no goal was scoredas the shooters mostly hit the goalkeeper or missed. Shots 11 and 12, 15 and 16, 17 and 18 went all in and the suspense was immense. Konstantin Kassatkin scored with the 21st shot and Poland had to equalise for the fourth time. A heavy load was on Marcin Jaros’ shoulders but they man, who had scored with one of his two penalty shots before, missed the net. Kazakhstan won, leaving Poland with only a minimal chance to qualify for the top division. Kazakhstan’s game against host Austria on Friday will the decider.
Penalty shoot-out: Zapala – save, Krutokhvostov – save; Rozanski – save, Kassatkin – save; Laszkiewicz – miss, Solarev – miss; Rifel – save, Jaros – save; Spiridonov save, Zapala – save; Krutokhvostov 0-1, Slabon 1-1; Yessirkenov – save, Slabon – save; Ogorodnikov 1-2, Laszkiewicz 2-2; Belyayev 2-3, Jaros 3-3; Krutokhvostov – miss, Laszkiewicz – save; Kassatkin 3-4, Jaros – miss.Kazakhstan's Andrey Spiridonov scored the 2-0 against Poland before the thriller began. Photo: puckfans.atClick here for the game's photo gallery.Korea – Great Britain 1-4 (0-1, 0-1, 1-2)
A Korean surprise was in the air when they played Great Britain, but their forwards coudlnt' score against British goalkeeper Stephen Murphy as he held them to just one goal despite Korea owning a 29-18 shots advantage.
David Clarke scored just 89 seconds into the game, producing the only offense of the period. The Koreans created scoring chances, but couldn't find the back of the net, even while skating strong on the power play.
Despite playing sub-par in the second period, Britain doubled its lead when David Longstaff brought the puck around a defender and goalie Ho Seung Son to score the 2-0 goal. Once again, the Koreans were the playmakers and had three power plays but they seemed to be unable to score.
Danny Meyers made it 3-0 at 46:52 before Min Ho Cho finally scored for Korea soon after a power play. The Korean efforts in the last minutes were not rewarded. Netminder Son lost the puck to Matt Myers at the boards behind his goal and Ashley Tait found the net.
Great Britain grabbed important points to avoid relegation after two defeats while recently-promoted Korea has still no points.The Koreans failed in front of Great Britain goalkeeper Stephan Murphy. Photo: puckfans.atClick here for the game's photo gallery.Click here for scores and statistics.