Kazakhstan in semis

YOG: Hold on to beat Slovaks 2-1, Swedes blank Austria

Innsbruck  Austria

Kazakhstan's win against Slovakia has earned the team a surprise trip to the semi-finals of the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games. Photo: Harald Steiner / GEPA Pictures

Austria - Sweden 0 - 3 (0 - 2 , 0 - 0 , 0 - 1) Game Sheet INNSBRUCK – Sweden ended Austria’s unbeaten streak with a 3-0 victory in the preliminary round of the 2012 Youth Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck. The Swedish women improve to 3W-0L and will be the top seed in the semi-finals. “We can do much more and everybody needs to up their level,” said forward Amanda Lindberg. “We wanted to start the game well but we didn’t, thankfully we were able to get the win.” The game was a defensive battle early on, as the teams traded penalties and had few shots on net in the first period. Austria had a great chance when Victoria Hummel’s shot rang off the post, but with just under three minutes remaining Malin Wong skated around the Austrian net and flipped the puck towards goaltender Paula Camilla Marchhart, who gave up a rebound to Lindberg for Sweden’s first goal. Sweden then set about throwing pucks onto the net and forcing Marchhart to give up rebounds, eventually drawing a hooking penalty on Tamara Grascher with 16 seconds left in the period. On the ensuing faceoff in the Austrian zone, Linn Peterson won the puck and passed to linemate Anna Kjellbin, who beat Marchhart with a low shot for the 2-0 lead. Although her team took a trio of penalties and was outshot 20-1, Marchhart did not allow a goal in the second period. By the end of the game, she had turned away 51 of 54 shots on net, giving up only one more goal in the third period when Kristin Andersson beat her with a nice wrist shot to the top corner. Austria finishes the preliminary round with a record of 3W-1L. Sweden has one game remaining against the Kazakhs before the semi-finals begin on Friday.

Slovakia - Kazakhstan 1 - 2 (0 - 1 , 0 - 0 , 1 - 1) Game Sheet Although the Slovaks took them down to the wire in a nail-biting final few minutes, the Kazakhstan women’s hockey team managed to hold on for a 2-1 victory at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games. The win gives the Kazakhs a berth in the semi-finals. Following the final horn, the Kazakh team piled on their goalie in celebration of an improbable trip to the tournament playoff round. Kazakhstan was initially not planned to participate in these Olympics, only being asked to play after Switzerland and the Czech Republic declined to participate. “The final few moments were very nervous for us, but we pulled through and it feels great,” said Kazakhstan team captain Anastassiya Matussevich. “I am so happy that we got the chance to show the world that we can play with these teams.” Kazakhstan potted the game-winning goal early in the third period, when defenceman Zhanna Nurgaliyeva drove the puck to the net and was stopped initially by Slovak goaltender Romana Kiapesova. The puck came out on the rebound and landed on the stick of Matussevich on the point, who fired a low shot through Kiapesova to put her team up 2-0. But Slovakia did not go away easily. With six minutes remaining and a Kazakh player in the penalty box, forward Silvia Vojtkova shot the puck from outside the blue line that found its way through to the back of the net, giving Slovakia its first goal of the tournament. But Kazakhstan goaltender Anastassia Ogay shut the door on the Slovaks the rest of the way, making a point-blank stop on a great chance by Vojtkova in front of the net to preserve the lead.

Kazakhstan and Slovakia each have one more preliminary round game, but it will be the Kazakhs who will move on thank to their win today. ADAM STEISS
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