BUDAPEST – A six-goal second period offensive outburst earned the Netherlands a 9-2 victory over Lithuania, while Hungary saluted its home fans with a 13-0 win over Croatia. Both teams meet in final of the Olympic Pre-Qualification tournament on Sunday.
Hungary - Croatia 13-0 (6-0, 3-0, 4-0)
Nine different players scored for Hungary who ran out to register the tournament's biggest score to-date, defeating Croatia 13-0.
Before the game the question was not if, but by how much Hungary would win the game. Not only does Hungary have home ice advantage and is ranked 11 spots higher than their opponents in the IIHF World Ranking. Hungary also had five more players registered than the 17 of Croatia. It all showed in what turned out to be a great evening for the home fans.
Croatia was able to hold off Hungary for the first nine minutes, conceding just a single goal on a nice one-timer by Istvan Bartalis, but after that the floodgates opened. At the end of the first period Hungary had ran away to a 6-0 lead leaving Croatia goaltender Mate Tomljenovic waving the bench for a goaltending change on several occasions. His team mates should be grateful that coach Danijel Kolombo left him on the ice.
Tomljenovic came up great for his team in the second period registering 25 saves. But it didn't stop the Hungarians from scoring. Hungary came up one goal short for double digits after two periods but ensured they did not miss out in the final period. Much like the run of play of the previous periods, Croatia was pushed back into their own zone by the home team who scored four more goals in the final period to finish at 13-0.
The Croatian goaltender was finally relieved from his duties after 50 minutes in a game that saw Croatia just limited to 10 shots compared to 68 of Hungary. Balasz Ladanyi and Istvan Sofron led Hungary in scoring with a pair goals and four poitns each.
Croatia shouldn't dwell too long on this defeat as they will face a Lihuanian side which is also still pointless after two games in tomorrow's afternoon game. The evening game between Hungary and the Netherlands should have the Budapest arena rocking. The stakes are as simple as high: You win, you qualify for the next round.
After the game the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation organised a charity teddy bear toss throwing event that led to nearly 4,000 bears being thrown on the ice. The cuddly toys will be delivered to orphanages in Hungary and Croatia and has proved to be a great success in previous editions.
Netherlands - Lithuania 9-2 (1-1, 6-1, 2-0)
A six-goal second period offensive outburst separated the Netherlands from Lithuania. The 9-2 victory earns the Dutch their second win at the Olympic Pre-Qualification tournament Group G.
After two games played the Netherlands have set themselves up for a grand finale on Sunday. After yesterday's victory over Croatia, the Dutch started slowly and unconcentrated against Lithuania. It was fully in line with the play at the moment that Lithuania took the lead thanks to a Daniel Bogdziul goal at 1:19.
Eventually it took a number of Lithuanian chances and ten minutes of play before the orange team regrouped and started playing composed. Raphael Joly scored the game-tying goal at 15:15, which was his first goal for the Dutch men's national team.
Netherlands coach Barry Smith must have said some magic words during the first intermission as the Dutch stormed out in the second period, scoring no less than six goals. Apart from a couple of nice deflections in front of net, Marcel Kars' goal, the 4-1, stood out and had the crowd on their feet. Together with Marco Postma he executed a 2-on-0 situation to perfection leaving goaltender Mantas Armalis no chance as he was sent from right to left and back to right before seeing the tip-in hit the back of the net.
Lithuania's only offensive output came off the stick of Sarunas Kuliesius, who scored his second goal of the tournament.
Both teams dressed a different goaltender for the third period which stopped the goal scoring bonanza. Tony Demelinne and Marcel Kars lifted the score to 9-2 resulting in the Netherlands' tournament lead with 17 goals scored.
Dutch coach Barry Smith was obviously delighted after the game. "I'm positively surprised by our power play and that we're able to wear out our opponents as I can roll four lines throughout the game. Not every team has that luxury here."
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