Div. IA: Austrians front-running

Day 4: Austria and Poland play for promotion.

18.04.2008
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Christoph Brandner scored a goal for Austria, which remains undefeated. Photo: puckfans.at

INNSBRUCK, Austria – Austria remains the sole undefeated team after beating Kazakhstan 4-3. Tomorrow’s clash against Poland will be deciding for promotion. Great Britain remains in Division I after an 8-1 win over the Netherlands, which play against relegation vs. Korea.

Kazakhstan – Austria 3-4 (1-1, 1-2, 1-1)

Hosts Austria and Kazakhstan went undefeated into their clash in a game, which could be decisive for promotion as the winner would have the best position for the last game day. Both teams as well as Poland were gold candidates prior to the game which was beginning as the home crowd liked it. After a back-pass by top scorer Oliver Setzinger, defenceman Martin Ulrich defeated Kazakhstan goalie Sergey Ogureshnikov with a 12-metre shot between the pads 74 seconds into the game. But it didn’t become an easy game for the hosts. Lev Krutokhvostov equalised at 13:34 and the Kazakhs showed their offensive ability.

The Austrians had slightly more shots and tried to find their luck again. Twice, the “Eagles” scored shorthanded, twice, it didn’t need much time until the Kazakhs equalised again.

Dieter Kalt scored the 1-2 at 30:07 but only 43 seconds later, Andrey Ogorodnikov found the net after a long pass to the blue line by Alexey Savchenko. At 35:43, it was Daniel Welser who regained the lead for Austria, again while playing 4-on-5.

It seemed that the Austrians were on the right track for a while but in the 46th minute, just 14 seconds after Thomas Koch missed with a breakaway, Kazakhstan had a counter-attack and Vladislav Kolesnikov scored from the blue line.

Finally, at 56:51, Christoph Brandner netted the first power play goal of the game and this time it was too late for the Kazakhs to react. Austria won 4-3 and just needs one more point against Poland tomorrow to qualify for the 2009 World Championship in Switzerland. Poland would be promoted with a victory after 60 minutes. Kazakhstan cannot reach more than silver after the loss to the hosts.


Poland – Korea 4-1 (0-0, 2-1, 2-0)

Korea tried to keep up in Division I also against Poland but was still too harmless in the offensive zone. Poland won the clash 4-1. While the Poles have still chances for promotion before the game against hosts Austria tomorrow, Korea’s game against also-winless Netherlands will decide about the relegation to Division II.

The teams didn’t show much entertainment until Hyu Hun Kim took the lead for Korea the first time in the tournament at 24:18. While the teams were playing 4-on-4, Kim had a 15-metre shot, which passed two Polish skaters and goalkeeper Przemyslaw Odrobny.

The fans were wondering if Korea could finally earn a sensational win but just two minutes later, Krzysztof Zapala equalised in power play and the game was continuing in favour of the Poles. A great effort by Marcin Jaros, who skated through the Korean defence and defeated goalkeeper Ho Seung Son, brought Poland the lead at 37:15.

The Asians were looking for the equaliser but rarely managed to create quality chances in front of the Polish crease. Jaroslaw Rozanski and Sebastian Kowalowka scored two goals in the last ten minutes with their shots that hit the net via the goal post.


The Koreans couldn’t stop Poland and will play the Netherlands against relegation. Photo: puckfans.at

Click here for the game's photo gallery.

Great Britain – Netherlands 8-1 (2-0, 4-0, 2-1)

Team UK had a surprisingly big win over the Netherlands to stay in Division I. Both teams are traditionally close in the standings, but this year, the Brits have outclassed the Dutch.

There was no sign of a clear British win after one period. Even though the Brits took a comfortable 2-0 lead, both teams had the same amount of shots (9). Greg Owen scored at 5:36, Jonathan Phillips was successful six minutes later. The Dutch had also their scoring chances thanks to three power plays, but Great Britain goalie Stephen Murphy was – not for the first time in this tournament – excellent.

Phil Groeneveld on the other side was less lucky. At 28:34 he couldn’t get the puck under control and allowed Owen to score his second goal. Jonathan Weaver made it 4-0 at 34:04. Two minutes later, Greg Chambers shot the puck top-right into the net. At 37:45, when the puck came back from the end boards, Thomas Watkins made use of Groeneveld’s confusion and scored the 6-0.

Ian Meierdres replaced Groeneveld for the last period but was already defeated after 36 seconds and Chamber’s short-hander. At first, Chambers shot over the puck in front of Meierdres but then moved it around the goalkeeper. Owen had his third goal at 47:59 while Bob Teunissen scored the 8-1 consolation goal in a 5-on-3 power play.

Tomorrow’s clash between the Netherlands and Korea will decide which team will be relegated to Division II.


Greg Owen had three goals against the Netherlands. Photo: puckfans.at

Click here for the game’s photo gallery.

Click here for scores and statistics.

MARTIN MERK

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