LJUBLJANA – All three winners from Saturday also succeeded on Sunday. Host Slovenia left their Croatian neighbours no chance in a 10-1 hammering while Hungary won 6-0 in its first-ever World Championship victory against Poland. Great Britain edged newly-promoted Korea 2-1.
Slovenia vs. Croatia 10-1 (6-0, 1-1, 3-0)
“SLOOOOOVEEEENIJAAAAA!” banged through the speakers of Hala Tivoli and from the throats of the Slovenian fans. Not just once but six times in the first period. It was the song that’s played after each Slovenia goal and at least in the first period the host team gave their neighbours from Croatia absolutely no chance.
Defenceman Sabahudin Kovacevic opened the scoring after just 64 seconds of play with his shot from the blueline.
While playing shorthanded, the Slovenes managed to appear in front of Vanja Belic’s goal with two forwards.
Jan Mursak and Marcel Rodman had a breakaway and after Mursak overcame a defenceman, Belic was left as the only opponent. After a double pass with Rodman, Mursak scored the 2-0 goal at 5:28.
When enjoying a power-play, Tomaz Razingar made it 3-0 at 9:07 and only 14 seconds later, Ziga Pance scored the fourth goal.
Slovenia continued to dismantle its opponent also in the second half of the first period. Ziga Jeglic scored the fifth goal at 11:20 and after Croatia had too many players on the ice, Ziga Pavlin scored the power-play goal to end the period with a 6-0 score.
The game was virtually over just after it had begun, but the 3,500 fans at the arena didn’t care, apart from those who came from Croatia. They celebrated their team and their country with folks banging from the loudspeakers and had kind of a folk festival on the stands.
Meanwhile, their team slowed down a bit and gave the Croats some air to grasp. Mario Novak used this moment during a power play to score the consolation goal at 23:58, but Marcel Rodman restored the six-goal gap before the second intermission.
Coach John Harrington gave his third goalkeeper Ales Sila a chance while his teammates scored three more goals.
Jan Mursak became the first player to score a deuce in the game at 50:30 during a power play and Rok Ticar made it 9-1 17 seconds later. With three seconds left in the game, Ticar marked again for the final score of 10-1.
While Slovenia lacked in scoring efficiency in their meeting one year ago that was won 4-2, the Slovenes had absolutely no struggle against Croatia this time.
“Each time you play a game you need to try to get better and that’s what we did,” Slovenia head coach John Harrington said. “Our guys were really moving tonight and when you score so many goals you get much confidence. You don’t want to embarrass any team, but at the same time we also want to play our game and I was pleased that all four lines scored.”
Hungary vs. Poland 6-0 (2-0, 0-0, 4-0)
The game began unlucky for Poland, and it ended unlucky with four third-period goals en route to Hungary’s 6-0 victory.
Poland’s Piotr Sarnik was the jinx with his bad pass in his own zone that perfectly reached Hungary Istvan Sofron. The forward made no mistake and capitalized on the present to open the scoring at 8:38.
Half a minute later, Leszek Laszkiewicz was sent to the penalty box where he witnessed Marton Vas scoring the 2-0 goal. Vas found himself free after great passing from Balazs Ladanyi and Viktor Tokaji.
The game remained well-balanced for most of the time and Poland had a 14-10 shots-on-goal advantage in the second period, but didn’t manage to defeat Zoltan Hetenyi while Janos Vas cheered too early after 11 minutes of play in the middle stanza as a pretended goal was not given after the video review.
Poland had another bad start into the third period. Only 14 second after the first face-off, Martin Vas made it 3-0 with a shot from the blueline.
Poland coach Wiktor Pysz replaced goalkeeper Krzysztof Zborowski, but Kamil Kosowski was defeated just four minutes later when Tamas Sille hit the back of the net on a rebound. Only 29 seconds later, Andreas Horvath made it 5-0 and forced Pysz to take a time out with the hope of keeping the damage low for Poland.
However, Balazs Ladanyi made it 6-0 when he scored on his own rebound at 57:22.
“Our guys did an excellent job. If a team gets a shutout it means that every skater and the goalie played well,” said Hungary coach Ted Sator.
It was the first time since 2005 that the teams played each other in the World Championship program and that game ended 1-1. Poland had never lost to Hungary in the men’s category of any IIHF or Olympic tournament since they first met in the 1927 European Championship in Vienna.
This time they suffered a huge defeat that bring them mentally far away from any gold-medal dreams although everything remains open in theory.
“We didn’t capitalize on our chances. The game last night (against Slovenia) was very tough for us,” defenceman Jaroslaw Klys tried to find the right words after the game. “That’s why we wanted to score a quick goal, but we had this unfortunate mistake that led to the first goal. The time to recover was simply not enough for us.”
Hungary shut out Poland 6-0. Photo: Iztok Novak
Great Britain vs. Korea 2-1 (0-0, 1-1, 1-0)
Great Britain faced Korea in a neck-and-neck race featuring two different styles of hockey, but two determined squads.
Both teams had different advantages with the British being stronger and more dangerous in front of the net while the Koreans had more speed and playmaking qualities.
It was the Koreans who had more shots in the first two periods: 11-8 and 9-7, but Great Britain opened the scoring at 26:46.
Both teams played disciplined despite some physical clashes, but when Britain had its second power play, they ended it after just 16 seconds with the first goal. Phil Hill scored on a rebound after a shot from Jonathan Weaver.
Four minutes later, Tae An Kwon missed a big scoring opportunity on a breakaway. His attempt to put the puck through Great Britain goalkeeper Stevie Lyle’s five hole didn’t succeed.
At 37:21 the Koreans were rewarded for their efforts and Dong Hwan Song silenced the predominately British crowd, tying the game at one.
Great Britain regained the lead in the last period at 49:41 when Jason Hewitt shot the puck under the crossbar on an odd-man rush.
There was still time left for the Koreans to tie things up, but this time the Asians didn’t score and Han Sung Kim’s penalty with slightly more than two minutes took any hope away to turn the game.
“We knew they’re a very fast team and it was a game we were really worried about because we used a lot of energy yesterday in the game after the bus trip,” British defenceman Mark Richardson said.
Great Britain won its second game after some scary moments against newly-promoted Korea. Photo: Iztok Novak