KRYNICA – Poland and Korea are still unbeaten while a reinforced Lithuania won a hard-fought game during the third round of the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships Division I Group B. Romania and Australia are still winless.
Korea vs. Romania 6-1 (3-0, 1-0, 2-1)
Korea keeps on winning as Romania finds goals very hard to come by.
"We were losing the game in five minutes, and after 3-0 it's hard to wake up and win the game against a very good team like Korea," said Attila Nagy of the Romanian coaching staff following their third straight loss.
Despite starting the game well and with most of the play in Korea's defensive zone, Romania's scoring problem is becoming apparent. Yongjun Lee opened the scoring on a power play at 11:16, which was soon followed by a five-minute frenzy with goals from Hyun Min Ahn and then Hyeok Kim.
21-year-old starting-goalie Gellert Ruczuj was replaced by regular first choice Adrian Catrinoi Cornea for the second period, but it didn't help Romania's because their attempt to get back into the game was soon disrupted by penalty calls, such as the game misconduct penalty on defenceman Botond Flinta. Yuwon Lee made it 4-0 from the ensuing power play.
"Romania is a good team, but when it comes to speed Korea is better and this is why we won. I believe in my players and all our four lines have worked well in this tournament," said assistant coach Hee Woo Kim after the game.
Korea decided to replace number-one goalie Hyunseung Eum after two periods with Sungje Park.
Romanian carelessness in the opponent’s zone gave way to a quick Korean trademark breakaway goal at 8:20 of the third period when Won Jung Kim raced clear and fed Hyung Joon Kim for the Asians’ fifth goal of the afternoon. Yuwom Lee added one to the scoreline with his second of the game at 15:38 to make it 6-0.
With four seconds left of the game, Romania finally got the rub of the green when good work from Csanad Virag and Zsombor Antal resulted in Zsolt Molnar's and Romania's first goal of the tournament with four seconds left to play.
"We just have to forget this game and prepare for the next one. We have to make some changes in the team in terms of attitude, but I think luck will have to come soon," said Nagy.
Australia vs. Lithuania 2-3 (0-2, 2-1, 0-0)
Late recruits lead Lithuania to first victory.
"We haven't had many exhibition games ahead of coming here so the first games in the tournament were like that to us. From now on we will get better," promised defenceman Mindaugas Kieras ahead of Lithuania's third game.
Kieras, who together with forwards Darius Pliskauskas and Pijus Rulevicius joined the Lithuanian national team in time for the game against Australia, certainly gave head coach Sergei Borisov’s depleted roster a big boost.
After successive defeats against Poland and Korea, Lithuania got off to a great start. Newcomer Rulevicius didn't need much time to settle in as he scored after 4:49 following good work from his 18-year-old linemate and Ilves Tampere junior Daniel Bogdziul. Nerijus Alisauskas extended Lithuania's lead at 8:52 scoring from a rebound after Australia goaltender Anthony Kimlin had made a fine save to a Darius Pliskauskas shot.
Australia kept their hopes alive after 3:30 of the second period when Lithuanian goaltender Mantas Armalis struggles with a rebound and Michael Schlemp scored from a tight angle leading to rapturous celebrations within the Australian camp.
Aliskauskas then scored his second goal and Lithuania's third of the game with a majestic slapshot on a power play at 8:38, but Australia didn't give in and was back in the game when a Todd Graham shot from the blueline sank in just in the last second of the middle frame.
Despite fine chances created by Australia in the final period Lithuania held on to their lead in what was the most thrilling game of the tournament so far.
"I think we started the game well, but from the middle of the second period and the whole of the third period Australia played better than us," said Kieras, who had two assists and will now face Romania next.
"We are a bit disappointed. We started a bit slow and I thought we would have been giving those guys a bit more of a fight. Apart from that I thought we played well for most of the game," said Ray Sheffield, assistant coach of Australia. "But we are hoping to stay up. We want to play better hockey and you can't do that at the lower levels."
Poland vs. Netherlands 5-1 (2-0, 1-0, 2-1)
Toughest test so far for the hosts.
"We are of course very disappointed now, but I think we also need to be realistic," said the Netherlands' head coach Larry Suarez at the post-match press conference. "We lost against a very, very good and well-coached hockey team."
The Netherlands started the game by challenging the hosts with their physical play and high forechecking. Surviving the initial scare, Poland soon took command of the game and scored their first goal thanks to a Leszek Laszkiewicz effort at 8:01. The crowd was still on their feet when Marcin Kolusz, Poland's captain, doubled the lead only 17 seconds later.
Mikolaj Lopuski scored Poland's third with a short-handed goal midway through the game – a feat which was repeated by Kolusz in the third period as he made it 4-0.
The Dutch hit back with a power-play goal by defenceman Mike Dalhuisen, which also meant Przemyslaw Odrobny's and Poland's first goal conceded during the event.
Jaroslaw Rzeszutko completed the scoring at 15:42 by making it 5-1, reacting first to a rebound from Dutch goaltender Ian Meierdres.
"We knew the Netherlands would come at us as they have big guys and are a strong skating team. With their forechecking, they came hard, and didn't give us too much time for break-out, but we were ready for that," said Poland defenceman Adam Borzecki.