TYCHY, Poland – Kazakhstan won the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division I Group B after edging Japan 6-5 in the deciding game to earn promotion.
Thanks to the win Kazakhstan will be ranked 17th overall and earn promotion to the next level – that’s the same achievements like the ones performed by the men’s national team on Saturday.
The Kazakhs faced little challenge when they started the tournament and defeated Ukraine 8-0, Korea 10-1 and Austria 5-1.
It became tougher against the hosts. Kazakhstan outshot Poland 34-22 but the Poles tied the game twice and in the third period Patryk Malicki scored two goals for the 3-2 and 4-3 lead. With six minutes remaining in regulation time the Poles were dreaming of an upset but then Sergei Stukalov tied the game at four and with four minutes left the Kazakhs capitalized on a power play with Nikita Mikhalis’ 5-4 goal to win the game.
Japan, relegated from the Division I Group A, was the only team that remained in the contest for gold on the last day. The Japanese lost their first game 5-3 to Poland but defeated Ukraine 5-4, Korea 4-2 and Austria 6-2. A win in regulation time against Kazakhstan would have lifted the Japanese to first place and it became a tight game despite a 4-1 Kazakh lead after the first period.
Japan came out strong for the middle frame it won 2-1 to cut the deficit to two goals. At 8:14 of the third period Yuri Terao made it a one-goal game. Ivan Kinstler scored the 6-4 goal on a power play at the 10-minute mark but with his second goal with 2:26 left on the clock Terao made it 6-5. The Japanese pulled the goalie and took a time-out but the score remained and the Kazakhs celebrated their promotion as time ran out for the Japanese.
Japan settled for silver in a three-way tie with bronze-medal winner Austria and fourth-ranked Poland. Ukraine followed in fifth place having its only win against recently promoted Korea, 6-1, which will be relegated to next year’s Division II Group A.
Click here for scores, stats and photos.
1. Kazakhstan 15 (promoted)
2. Japan 9
3. Austria 9
4. Poland 9
5. Ukraine 3
6. Korea 0 (relegated)
Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate
Best Goalkeeper: Sergi Pysarenko, Ukraine
Best Defenceman: Yuri Sergienko, Kazakhstan
Best Forward: Yuri Terao, Japan