Poland, Ukraine score high

Div. IB: Favourites continue with clean record


Ukraine’s Yuri Petrangovsky and Estonia’s Jan Rajevski battle for the puck. Photo: Valeri Dudush

DONETSK – The second day of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B saw Ukraine steamroll Estonia 8-1. Earlier Poland had beaten Romania 6-1 while the Netherlands won a hard-fought battle against Lithuania.

Lithuania v Netherlands 3-5 (1-2, 1-2, 1-1)

The Netherlands claimed second consecutive win in a penalty-infested encounter.

Lithuania fought until the bitter end against the Netherlands in a heated game where both teams amassed 24 minor penalty minutes each. But it was the Dutch who finished as 5-3 winners with Ivy van den Heuvel leading the Dutch team in scoring with 1+2.

"We played a very good game. Unfortunately, once again, we took far too many unnecessary penalties, but it was very tight," said Lithuanian head coach Bernd Haake. "There are little things that decide a game, such as after we pulled our goalie at the end and our defenceman was unable to control the puck and then they scored in the empty net instead of us scoring the tying goal."

Having pulled their goalie Mantas Armalis with less than two minutes left of the game and pressing for a game-tying goal, defenceman Nerijus Alisauskas ran out of options just inside the Dutch defensive zone with two opponents towering over him. His attempt to find a teammate was instead snapped up by captain Diederick Hagemeijer who raced through towards the empty Lithuanian net to seal the Dutch victory 5-3 with only 39 seconds remaining of the game.

"It was a better Lithuanian team that we faced today compared to our last two encounters," said Hagemeijer. After last year's 7-1 rout during the final day of games at the World Championship Division I Group B in Krynica, Poland, the next meeting between the two teams was an aforementioned lopsided score in Budapest during the Olympic Pre-Qualification in November last year.

This afternoon's clash was as a carbon copy of the Netherlands' opening day win over Estonia in Donetsk as the Dutchmen once again took a two-goal lead. Influential van den Heuvel snapped a wrist shot through the pads of Armalis after Hagemeijer had broken loose along the boards and fed his team mate with a backhand. 37 seconds later the puck was in the back of the Lithuanian net once again as Dax van de Velden made it 2-0 in front of heavy traffic in front of Lithuania's goal. Lithuania's Darius Pliskauskas missed a golden opportunity being 2-on-1 before Rolandas Aliukonis pulled a goal back at the end of the first frame playing 5 against 3 when his slapshot went in via the pad of Dutch goalie Martijn Oosterwijk.

Haake, who took over as head coach of Lithuania in October last year, saw Mitch Bruijstein increase the Dutch lead to 3-1 when scoring with ease four minutes into the second period as Lithuania's Mindaugas Kieras and Aliukonis served minor penalties. The roles were reversed five minutes later when prospect Daniel Bogdziul in 5 against 3 carefully picked out Pliskauskas at the far post who cut the Dutch lead once again to one marker. 12:36 into the middle frame van den Houvel then gets his third point of a fruitful afternoon when his involvement in the build-up play set up Lars van Sloun for his 4-2 goal.

Veteran Sarunas Kuliesius capitalised on yet another powe rplay as he showed great determination when rounding Oosterwijk's net to press home Lithuania's third goal in the final frame. With 1:45 left of the game Haake pulled the goalie which led to the Netherlands fifth and final goal in a tight game.

"We knew at the beginning of the tournament that the important games in the group were against Romania and Estonia. Our goal is not to go down, and it will be very tough," said Haake.

Ukraine is next up for Lithuania, while the Netherlands will be facing against another fellow unbeaten opponent; Poland.

"We have to stop getting too many penalty calls, because against Poland and Ukraine it will be a disaster," said Hagemeijer.

Romania v Poland 1-6 (1-0, 0-3 , 0-3)

Poland needed one period to wake up against Romania, before stepping up a gear in the second period where winning the shots 23-4 and scoring three power-play goals turned the game in their favour.

"I think we had enough energy in the first two periods, but we lost four goals in box-play and that is a big mistake," said Romania's sole goal scorer of the day, Tihamer Becze, following his team's 6-1 defeat on the hand of Poland.

When Becze tapped home a rebound left by Poland's goalie Przemyslaw Odrobny from a Yevgeni Pysarenko blue-line feed at 6:38 into the game, it was a goal very much against the run of play. But Romania finished the period with a 1-0 lead despite the favourites in red having won the shots 14-11.

Poland's head coach Igor Zakharkin had requested more direct play and more shots on goal ahead of the second frame, and his wishes were to be granted as Poland scored three unanswered goals, all on power plays, before the period had come to an end. The equalising goal came on a 5-on-3 at 4:40 of the middle period from a Rafal Dutka shot.

A Mateusz Bryk effort from the right flank was steered home by Sebastian Kowalowka for the Poles to take the lead at 25:36 and before the period was over Adrian Catrinoi Cornea had conceded his and Romania's third. Tomasz Malasinski made it 3-1 for Poland halfway into the middle period before Poland squandered numerous golden opportunities to increase their lead, including two separate 3-on-1 opportunities where Marek Strzyzowski and soon after Jakub Witecki should both have done much better to put the game beyond Romania's reach.

Poland continued to press forward in a final frame where they outshot the Romanians 24-4. A fourth goal came after 46:29 when Strzyzowski’s pass was snapped up in the slot by Radoslaw Galant, who scored with ease. Gellert Ruczuj replaced Catrinoi Cornea in Romania's net, but it was to no avail as Kowalowka scored his second goal of the afternoon and Poland's fourth in total on an efficient power play at 48:49 before the pacey Dziubinski raced clear on a Strzyzowski feed to hit a wrist shot into the top corner to finish the scoring in fine fashion.

In the end it was a comfortable second win for Poland. Romania, winless after two games, has a big game coming up next as they are seeking their first points against Estonia on Wednesday.

"Actually this is when the tournament starts for us, and if we want to reach our goal, which is the third spot, we must beat Estonia," said Becze.

Estonia v Ukraine 1-8 (1-2, 0-2, 0-4)

Estonia held out for one period before succumbing to relentless pressure from the home team. Ukraine won 8-1 in the end and was led by its second line in scoring with Roman Blagy netting three and Maxym Kvitchenko racking up four assists.

"We knew that Ukraine was going to be the better team, so we tried to play a defensive game, and we did what we could, but in the end that was not enough," said Estonia head coach Dmitri Medvedev.

Oleg Tymchenko opening the scoring for the dominant home team after 3:19 and soon after gave 3,356 inside Ice Palace Druzhba yet another reason to rise to their feed when Kvitchenko circled around the left face-off circle to pick out Blagy, who scored his first for the night as Ukraine went up 2-0 after 7:46.

But when Estonia's Aleksei Sibirtsev tapped a face-off in Ukraine's defensive zone to line mate Aleksandr Kuznetzov and then got back the puck and forced home a goal that cut the host's lead to one, Ukraine's head coach Olexander Kulikov had things to mull over during the first intermission.

"We made several mistakes," he said. "We are trying to renew the team with a group of younger players, but we cannot forget that discipline will beat class."

Kulikov's first period team-talk had a positive effect on his adepts, as goals by Blagy and a precise wrist shot by Vasyl Polonytsky from the blueline increased Ukraine’s lead to 4-1 before the second frame had come to an end.

Olexander Toryanuk's 5-1 goal 2:41 into the final frame put the game beyond the reach of the tiring Estonians, who shortly afterwards once again had to pick out the puck from Villem-Henrik Koitmaa's net as Olexander Materukhin scored Ukraine's sixth. Blagy netted his third for the evening at 53:14 before Kostyantyn Ryabenko finished off the scoring 29 seconds later as Ukraine clocked up their second consecutive 8-1 win of the tournament.


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