LJUBLJANA – Hungary and Slovenia remain the two only undefeated teams in Division I Group B. The host was challenged until Ziga Jeglic scored an overtime goal against Great Britain. Hungary outscored Croatia 8-0. Poland landed its first win against Korea.
Slovenia vs. Great Britain 4-3 (1-0, 1-0, 1-3, 1-0) OT
Great Britain’s winning streak came to an end on Tuesday night. The Brits took Slovenia to overtime, but Slovenia earned its third win thanks to Ziga Jeglic’s goal 1:40 into the extra period.
It was a well-deserved win, but it took Slovenia hard work and patience to overcome the British team that defended its net well.
Slovenia set the tone for the first two periods. They were quicker, their moves trickier, their passes better and they had more shots – 10-5 in the first, and 15-4 in the second period – as well as the better scoring chances.
The question was not if Slovenia would score, but for how long the British defence could withstand the Slovenian storm. It took Slovenia many missed shots and saves from Great Britain netminder Stephen Murphy until the home crowd celebrated their team's first goal.
The defensive-minded Brits stood like a wall and were disciplined. It took almost 17 minutes until the first penalty was called against them and it was exactly that moment, Slovenia struck when Jan Urban put in his own rebound.
In the second period, it was all Slovenia and after nine minutes, the team scored the 2-0 goal. Jakob Milovanovic torpedoed a high shot from the blueline that was touched by Rok Ticar.
Building up a two-goal lead against a well-organized team is difficult, losing it is not. It took 29 minutes to be two markers ahead, but only 22 seconds of inattention to concede a pair of goals and to neutralize all the work.
Great Britain also made use of a power play in the third period – and had more power plays than Slovenia. Ashley Tait appeared in front of Slovenia netminder Andrej Hocevar and scored the 2-1 goal after a quick pass from Greg Chambers.
Just after the face-off, it was Mark Garside who made his way through the defence until he shot in the 2-2 goal.
Slovenia increased the tempo and soon took the lead again. Jan Urbas’s side pass behind the net reached Ziga Jeglic on the other side, who forwarded the puck to Ticar. He scored his second goal of the night at 51:02.
Head coach Paul Thompson took a time out 73 seconds before the end of regulation to try to tie it up with six skaters and the goalie pulled.
With 52 seconds left, Jonathan Phillips tied the game and forced the overtime.
Slovenia coach John Harrington also took a time out with 39 seconds left, but there were no more goals in regulation.
“We had a lot of pressure in the first two periods and had excellent goaltending. I thought when we would score a goal it could change the momentum, and it did,” Thompson said. “It was a great game. We saw great hockey and an overtime goal can happen on any side.”
The home team was again more active also in the extra time and their third scoring chance after 1:40 made the crowd cheer. Ziga Jeglic, who had three assists in regulation, shot from the goal line to Murphy’s goalie stick and the puck went in.
“Every night one line steps up, this time it was us, tomorrow it’s maybe another, but we won and that’s all that counts,” said Urbas, on his young players. Urbas, who plays for Swedish team Malmö, is just 21 years old while Ticar, who scored twice, is 20, and overtime hero Jeglic, 22.
Hungary vs. Croatia 8-0 (3-0, 5-0, 0-0)
The Hungary-Croatia game showed why Hungary is one of the favourites to earn the promotion to the top division and also why Croatia’s goal is to avoid relegation. The Hungarians gave the Croats no chance, outplaying them in an 8-0 shutout.
Hungary already had a 2-0 lead by the fourth minute of play.
After receiving a pass at the blueline, Martin Vas skated towards Croatia goalkeeper Vanja Belic for the first goal. Just 26 seconds later, Daniel Fekete defeated Belic with a wraparound.
At 15:56, Andras Horvath put the puck through Belic’s pads on a rebound and Imre Peterdi moved it over the line for a three-goal margin after the first period.
Hungary stood tall in the middle stanza and often simple pass combinations were enough to shut down the Croatian defence.
Peterdi made it 4-0 with his second goal on a power play. He was unchallenged in front of the net when he received a pass from the boards from Daniel Koger. Two minutes later, the story repeated just with Balazs Ladanyi as the goal scorer and Martin Vas as the assistant.
Midway through the period, Bence Svasznek made it 6-0 when he shot from the boards at the blueline and Peterdi copleted his hattrick at 32:10 after receiving another centring pass.
Croatia goalkeeper Vanja Belic went to the bench to ask for a change after the seventh goal, but coach Pavle Kavcic had him return, knowing that goaltending was not the issue for the score.
The only goalkeeper change was done by Hungary for the last period and before they scored the eighth and last goal of the game at 32:57. Balint Magosi scored after Istvan Sofron had passed from behind the net.
“We played well and nothing can be taken for granted. We had to try not to be sloppy, although we were so somewhat in the last period,” Hungary coach Ted Sator said and also mentioned his 18-year-old backup goalkeeper Miklos Rajna, who came for the last period. “It was his first international game. He played 20 minutes of shutout hockey and I’m sure he won’t forget this.”
The Hungarians have their next encounter on Wednesday against Great Britain. Croatia will play Poland on Wednesday.
Balazs Ladanyi scores the 5-0 goal for Hungary against Croatia. Photo: Iztok Novak
Korea vs. Poland 2-5 (1-3, 1-1, 0-1)
Poland got a much-needed victory against an underdog after losing to the two tournament favourites. The Poles defeated Korea 5-2 to earn their first points.
Leszek Laszkiewicz opened the scoring after less than four minutes of play. Krystian Dziubinski was alone at the blueline, and sent the puck to the crease to Laszkiewicz, who put the puck in.
Four minutes later, Michal Kotlorz made it 2-0 after a pass from Laszkiewicz but only 32 seconds later the Koreans cut their deficit in half. Dong Hwan Song sped through a paralyzed Polish defence to score the first Korean goal.
It seemed that the first period would end with a close score despite 15-8 shots in favour of Korea but it didn’t. With seven seconds left, Geun Ho Kim smashed his stick into the glass.
Shortly after, Tomasz Malasinski skated behind the Korean net and passed to Dziubinski, who made it 3-1.
At 33:30, Korea cut the lead again when Min Ho Cho scored with a shot from a short angle on a power play but three minutes later, a mistake gave the Poles their two-goal lead back again.
Korea captain Woo Jae Kim lost the puck in his own zone when Jaroslaw Rozanski seized the puck from behind. He passed to Jaroslaw Rzeszutko who scored the 4-2 goal.
With five minutes left, Poland defenceman Patryk Wajda sealed the win with his distance shot that went over the goal line after hitting the crossbar.
Poland landed an important win to remain a medal contender before games against Croatia and Great Britain.
“It was a very important game for us because we lost the first two games,” Leszek Laszkiewicz said. “We knew that they are very fast, so we had to play a good defence and capitalize on their mistakes. It worked very well and we hope that we can win the last two games.”
Korea will play its next game tomorrow against Slovenia before meeting Croatia on Friday – a game that will likely be determine which team will move down.
Poland captain Leszek Laszkiewicz, here against Korea's Dong Hwan Kim, had one goal and one assist in the first seven minutes of play. Photo: Iztok Novak