Hosts beat champs

Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia and USA get wins

27.06.2017
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Bratislava  Slovakia

The Slovak players celebrate one of their nine goals in an upset win against defending champs Canada. Photo: Rene Miko

BRATISLAVA – Host Slovakia scored high and edged defending champions Canada 9-8 to reach second place in the group. Finland beat Sweden 6-5 in the evening to win its group while Team USA ended on top of the other group after its third win, 8-2 against Croatia. The Czechs had another dramatic game but were this time on the winning side, 6-4 against Germany. In Division I play Hungary, Latvia, Slovenia and Great Britain won their games. After Day 3 the quarter-final picture is now complete. After a day off the tournaments continue with the final round on Thursday.

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Top Division: Quarter-Finals (29 June)
Czech Republic vs. Canada 14:00
Finland vs. Croatia 16:00
Slovakia vs. Sweden 18:00
USA vs. Germany 20:00

Top Division: Canada vs. Slovakia 8-9 (1-2, 1-3, 4-3, 2-1)

Host Slovakia scored a big win by beating defending champion Canada 9-8 to finish Group A in second place ahead of the quarter-finals. After a strong start the Slovaks defended the lead until the end although it need a high effort since Canada never gave up and outshot Slovakia 43-24.

During two minutes and ten seconds of the game Canada had the lead. After a nice east-west pass through traffic Brett Bulmer was free on the left to score Canada’s opening goal. But a straight shot from 12 metres from Marek Horsky after a drop pass from the goal line tied the game just over two minutes later. At 8:01 it was again Horsky who scored. Tomas Jasko sent a smart pass by the Canadian defence toward the crease, Horsky got the puck and netted it in his second attempt in front of Canadian goaltender Brett Leggat.

“We wanted to win. It was very tight, every game is hard from the 0-0,” Marek said after the game. “We were good in the D-zone but Canada is very strong with the puck. The coach told us our system and we played it throughout the game and had a lot of shots from distance.”

The Canadians tied the game just 23 seconds into the second period but at 2:43 Slovakia was leading again. Marcel Holovic sent a diagonal pass to the crease where Jakub Ruckay tipped it in for the 3-2 goal.

On a power play at 8:58 the Slovaks even made it a two-goal lead against the defending champion. Filip Novak tried it with a shot from just behind the right face-off circle. It was precise and it went in to the joy of the home crowd. And with 1.6 second left before the intermission Tomas Jasko even made it 5-2. With a horizontal pass behind the centre red line, Peter Lichanec sent Jasko for a breakaway that ended with a three-goal lead for the Slovaks.

Canada came back into the game 17 seconds into the third period. Chris Rauckman skated from his own and toward the Slovak goal, around Boris Ertel and sent the puck past Vladimir Neumann. But it just took 36 seconds for Slovakia to react. Ruckay sent a centring pass to Holovic, who didn’t miss this opportunity on the right side of the Canadian net. And Filip Novak made it 7-3 on a rebound after a wraparound attempt from Juraj Jurik.

Schael Higson scored Canada’s fourth goal after a nice pass from Shaun Furlong just 44 seconds later but Slovakia reacted immediately with Patrik Szabo’s 8-4 marker. Alone against two Canadian defencemen, he simply tried it with a shot from the right face-off circle and succeeded. Canadian goalie Leggat left the net making space for Paul Town.

The exchange of goals stopped for a bit until at 8:03 when Kyle Henderson caught Slovak goalie Neumann on his glove side. The game was far from over yet. With 2:03 left in the third period James Isaacs capitalized on a rebound to make it 8-6.

It remained quiet with goals for a couple of minutes as both teams defended well until the Slovaks made it 9-6 on a counter attack. Jurik brought the puck into the Canadian zone, passed to Novak whose shot was blocked and Boris Ertel scored on the rebound. 24 seconds later Canada made it a two-goal game again with a top-shelf shot from Thomas Woods. And one minute later Dave Hammond even made it 9-8 after a pass to the crease from Austin Steger.

The Canadians pulled their goalie for the last minute of the game but the Slovaks defended their net well and while fans were counting down the seconds the players got ready to celebrate a big win.

Top Division: Finland vs. Sweden 6-5 (1-2, 2-0, 2-0, 1-3)

Finland edged archival Sweden 6-5 to win its group and get a quarter-final clash with Croatia. Teemu Lepaus and Petri Partanen each had two goals and one assist. Finland outshot the Swedes 21-14, who failed with their late comeback attempt.

“It was an emotional game as we knew it would be for us Finns as always against Sweden. It turned out okay since we won it,” Finnish defenceman Sami Markkanen said.

In the beginning it looked better for the Swedes. They capitalized on their first power play to score the lead. After passing behind the net the puck went back to Sweden’s last man, Marcus Lissang, who beat Samu Airasvaara with a long shot at 5:15.

Midway the first period Finland managed to stay in the offensive zone, long and with patience, and at 6:07 Partanen had his breakthrough past Adam Rachidi and beat Swedish goalie Robert Kinisjarvi from a close range to tie the game. But with 11 seconds left in the period Linus Svedlund scored on his own rebound during a power play to regain the lead for Sweden.

The game turned into Finland’s favour with four unanswered goals in the next two periods.

Pukka tied the game with a long shot at 8:13 of the second frame. After a missed back pass the defenceman was closest and hit the back of the net with his shot. One minute later the Finnish goal song was played again. Lepaus got in position on the left side and sent off a shot from the face-off circle for Finland’s first lead before the half-time break.

Lepaus scored another one 43 seconds in the third period after a horizontal pass to the centre from Eemeli Suomi to make it 4-2. Lasse Lappalainen added another one at 9:25 with his shot from the left face-off dot after a drop pass from Lepaus.

Sweden got closer early in the fourth period when they pushed the Finns close to their net and Linus Svedlund scored through traffic from the right face-off dot. Partanen restored the three-goal lead at 6:28 with a short-angle shot that went in via the Swedish goaltender. But right after the face-off the Swedes replied. After great forechecking from Rasmus Dahlberg Karlsson he sent off a shot and Alexander Olsson capitalized on the rebound.

With Tomi Penttinen in the penalty box and the goalie pulled, the Swedes played 5-on-3 for the last 70 seconds of play but didn’t earn more than a goal in the last second of the game that was awarded to Markus Kinisjarvi after a video review.


Petri Partanen scored two goals for Finland in the game against Nordic rival Sweden. Photo: Rene Miko

Top Division: Germany vs. Czech Republic 4-6 (1-2, 1-0, 1-1, 1-3)

Like the day before in the shootout loss the Czechs had a game that went back and forth. This time, against Germany, they won it. The Germans tied the game twice and had a 3-2 lead but when Petr Kafka scored the 4-3 goal for the Czechs they didn’t give up the lead anymore and won 6-4.

“It feels good. We played a tough game against Finland yesterday. Today we were the better team and we knew it and said in the locker room that we had to win this game,” Kafka said.

Zdenek Kubica opened the scoring for the Czechs during the first power play of the game at 1:59. After some passing he was in good position from the second row and beat German goalie Sinisa Martinovic high on his stick side.

In the seventh minute the German goalie made a save to prevent Kubica’s second marker and after the face-off the game quickly went to the other direction. Daniel Krzizok skated into the offensive zone from left, then outskated the Czechs diagonally to the right and beat Czech goalie Daniel Huf for the 1-1 goal.

One minute later Kubica eventually got his second marker to regain his team the lead. He skated through until getting in shooting position between the face-off circles and his shot went in after hitting Martinovic in the shoulder area.

Germany captain Steffen Tolzer tied it up at 3:18 of the second period. He shovelled the puck past Kubica in the right face-off circle and beat Huf for the 2-2 goal.

Germany had a good phase of forechecks a few minutes into the third period and at 4:56 Mathias Jeske scored with a great shot into the top-left corner from ten metres to give Germany its first lead of the game. Also this lead wouldn’t last forever. Jakub Strnad entered the German zone at two minutes later and his wrister from the face-off circle went in top-right past Martinovic’s glove.

The next to score were the Czechs in the fourth period. During a man advantage Jakub Petruzalek fed Kafka with a centring pass to make it 4-3. With 4:45 left in regulation time the Czechs scored again. Strnad deked Jeske close to the net and in falling down he managed to shoot the puck past Martinovic.

The Germans reacted just 35 seconds later with Alexander Duck cutting the Czech lead to 5-4. Tolzer lost balance on his forecheck right of the net but sent a drop pass while falling that reached Duck, whose shot went in with two minutes left to chase for the equalizer. But after a blocked shot the Czechs gained puck possession and Kafka sealed the win with his shot into the empty net with 1:39 left in the game.


The Czech players celebrate an early goal against Germany. Photo: Rene Miko

Top Division: Croatia vs. USA 2-8 (2-1, 0-2, 0-4, 0-1)

The Americans, who outshot Croatia 39-9, entered the game as favourite having had two high-score wins before while newcomer Croatia had two high losses. But the Croats wanted to dismiss such predictions.

Borna Silovic gave Croatia the lead after just 53 seconds of play with a long shot on a counter-attack. Like yesterday against Slovakia the Croats surprised in the beginning, but this time even more. At 5:41 Tomislav Cunko received a horizontal pass from Mario Novak and deked Derrick Burnett to score the 2-0 goal for the underdog.

The Americans reacted with the next shift and scored 19 seconds later. Matt White skated through from the left and sent off a shot from the face-off circle that beat Mate Tomljenovic for the 2-1 goal.

The Croatian lead stayed until midway the second period when White did his magic again. He skated again on the left side first past Jan Novotny and then deked Fran Srketic before letting go a shot that tied the game at two.

Jack Combs gave Team USA the lead 68 seconds later. With two passes from White and Burnett the Americans outplayed the Croatian defence and Combs was at a good spot right from the crease to make it 3-2 for the United States.

With 16-6 shots on goal in the first two periods, it was a hard-fought but deserved lead for Team USA heading into the half-time intermission.

“I thought we played well although we had a slow start,” said Nielsson Arcibal. “We were not surprised about how Croatia played. Every team here is a hard test for us.”

In the third period the Croats had the chance to tie the game with Travis Noe in the penalty box but a counter-attack led to an unusual marker for the Americans. White had a rush on the right side but his shot went wide. After bouncing back from the end boards, Arcibal brought the puck back from behind the net and via Croatian goalie Tomljenovic it went in. Two minutes later White’s long shot during a power play went in for the 5-2 goal.

The Croatian resistance seemed to be broken now. Combs and Jalen Krogman scored two more goals late in the period and Noe’s power-play marker late in the fourth period made it 8-2 for Team USA.

Despite the score the fans of the Croatian team were proud of their players and sang for them once the post-game ceremony was over. While Team USA will enter the quarter-finals as top seed of their team, the winless Croats will face the winner of the other group in the quarter-finals.


Team USA's John Schiavo with a scoring chance on Croatian goalie Mate Tomljenovic. Photo: Rene Miko

Division I: Quarter-Finals (29 June)
Great Britain vs. Argentina 13:00
Hungary vs. Australia 15:00
Latvia vs. New Zealand 17:00
Slovenia vs. Brazil 19:00

Division I: Australia vs. Great Britain 1-7 (0-3, 0-3, 0-0, 1-1)

In their strongest performance so far Great Britain beat Australia 7-1 and finishes its group in second place. Goaltender Miles Finney had a strong game making 28 saves. Great Britain outshot Australia 32-29.

Ben Lowe opened the scoring already after 42 seconds and Dan Hutchinson and Nathan Finney made it a 3-0 first-period lead. The British added three more markers in the second frame, two from Karl Niamatali and one from Alex Kingston.

Lowe scored his second goal of the game in the fourth period and with 5:16 left in regulations time Jayden Ryan scored the consolation goal for Australia, spoiling Miles Finney’s shutout attempt.


Joshua Yeardley, Ben Lowe and Daniel Robertson celebrate a goal for Great Britain in the game against Australia. Photo: Jan Sukup


Division I: Slovenia vs. Argentina 9-3 (3-0, 0-1, 1-1, 5-1)

Top-seed Slovenia won its Division I group after beating Argentina 9-3.

Three unanswered goals in the opening frame from Miha Brus, Gregor Koblar and Ales Fajdiga led the way to win for Slovenia. Argentina tried to battle back with an Owen Haiek goal 55 seconds before the half-time break. Teams exchanged goals in the third period with Mateuz Erman scoring for Slovenia and Gonzalo Beltrami cutting the Slovenian lead to 4-2.

The Slovenes started the last period strong and four unanswered goals within a span of 2:16 paved the way to victory. Seven different players scored for Slovenia including Jure Sotlar and Fajdiga with two markers.


Miha Brus, Saso Rajsar and Nejc Berlisk celebrate a Slovenian goal against Argentina. Photo: Jan Sukup

Division I: Brazil vs. Latvia 5-13 (1-2, 1-2, 1-3, 2-6)

After a good start from Brazil, Latvia rolled to a 13-5 victory to win its group while the Brazilians remain winless. Former KHL player for Dinamo Riga, Rustams Begovs, was the man of the match with six goals including three in the last period.

Latvia got a 2-0 lead in the first period with goals from Olafs Aploks and Aleksandrs Galkins but the Brazilians had more scoring chances in that frame and came back. Felipe Geraldini scored just 29 seconds later and at 4:05 of the second period Bruno Gomes tied the game at two.

That’s when the Begovs show started. Four minutes later he scored his first goal on a power play and one minute later 88 Maslovskis made it 4-2 before the half-time mark.

Geraldini scored his second goal to bring Brazil back to a one-goal deficit but that was followed with four unanswered Latvian goals eventually leading to a clear 13-5 win.


Aleksandrs Galkins scored two goals in Latvia’s 13-5 win against Brazil. Photo: Jan Sukup

Division I: New Zealand vs. Hungary 3-7 (1-1, 1-2, 0-2, 1 -2)

Hungary finishes its group in second place after beating New Zealand 7-2. The Hungarians needed a win against the qualifier to reach second place and a potentially easier challenger in the quarter-finals. That task turned out to be easier said than done though.

The Kiwis outshot Hungary in both of the first periods, 7-6, 5-4. But scoring the first lead through Vilmos Gallo, one of the players from the national ice hockey team on the squad, at 9:00 helped the Hungarians.

New Zealand had to chase behind but did so successfully. Three minutes later Sam Kay tied the game.

In the second period Attila Rafaj regained the lead for Hungary but 53 seconds later the New Zealanders tied it up again with a goal from Daniel Garrow. Then Gallo scored his second marker one-and-a-half minutes later to give Hungary a 3-2 lead going into the half-time intermission.

Two more goals from Rafaj in the last 67 seconds of the third period eventually sealed the win for Hungary. David Szappanos and Marton Mach scored two more goals in the fourth period and Liam Shields scored New Zealand’s third goal in the last minute for the final score of 7-3. 


Hungary’s Attila Orban and New Zealand’s Liam Shields battle for the puck. Photo: Jan Sukup

MARTIN MERK

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