Next Polish shutout performance

Div. IB: Wins for Korea, Netherlands

16.04.2012
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Kisung Kim of Korea attempts to score against Lithuania. Photo: Miroslaw Ring

KRYNICA – On the second day of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships Division I Group B, the Netherlands, Korea and Poland recorded their second successive victories, while Australia, Lithuania and Romania are still looking for one.

Netherlands vs. Australia 6-2 (1-1, 3-1, 2-0)

A plethora of penalty calls ruined the day for Australia.

"I thought we killed penalties really well, but they were just too many, said forward Lliam Webster following Australia's 71 penalty minutes and a 6-2 loss to the Netherlands.

Australia got to a dream start when Vitkovice Ostrava's Nathan Walker capitalised on a Nick de Jong mistake, and the 18-year-old prospect cut loose from the chasing pack to go one on one with Ian Meierdres and score after only 37 seconds.

Three successive minor penalties severely disrupted Australia's chances to build on their good start, but while the Netherlands got the pressure up, inspiring goaltending from Olivier Martin and assistance from the post from a Mike Dalhuisen shot kept the Australian lead intact. In the end of the period, the Dutchmen finally got their reward for their hard work when Kevin Bruijstein was assisted by his younger brother Mitch to tie the game at 18:04.

Just like in their previous game against Romania, the Netherlands came out as an improved team for the second period, and although Australia often threatened with the speed of Walker, it was deservedly the Netherlands, who took the lead after a precise blueline wrist shot by defenceman Dalhuisen on 6:56 of the second period.

A two-minute penalty for slashing on Andrew White saw giant veteran captain Marcel Kars make it 3-1 for the men in orange, before White once again got in the referees’ bad books, this time for a misconduct which saw the Netherlands' Marco Postma increase the lead to 4-1 at 14:28. The bearded Webster gave the Antipodeans hope ahead of the final period when scoring from a pass from his team-mate at Melbourne Ice, Joseph Hughes with 2:07 left of the second period.

"We had been hoping for a better start, but I think we did really well after the first period with keeping the puck going and putting pressure on them constantly," said Larry Suarez, head coach of the Netherlands. "Apart from losing a bit of focus and then getting a bit too comfortable in the second period, when they got the five minute penalty, we worked really hard after that."

Two game misconduct penalty calls in the final period for Andrew White and Thomas Manco didn't help Australia in their bid to try to get something out of the game. Netherlands made the most of their power play when Dalhuisen hit a wonderful diagonal pass from the blueline for Diederick Hagemeijer to steer home Netherlands fifth goal at 47:57. Soon after Hagemeijer himself showed his eye for a fine pass, as he fed Kevin Bruijnstein for his second of the afternoon and the final goal of the game at 51:45.

"It was pretty frustrating and something we have to learn; we cannot take the penalties we did if we want to survive on this level," said Webster

Korea vs. Lithuania 3-0 (3-0, 0-0, 0-0)

Three first period goals sealed win for Korea.

"We aim to go to all the way to the final game and play with Poland for the win," said Korea head coach Sun Wook Byun after a solid, but unspectacular 3-0 win over Lithuania.

If it was Polish power that destroyed Lithuania yesterday, the Koreans showed glimpses of its speedy style of hockey against a depleted Lithuania team that are eagerly awaiting for reinforcements ahead of their next game against Australia. Lithuania, who had Mantas Armalis back in goal, was unable to keep up with the pace of Geunho Kim who sailed through the Lithuanian defence to score after fine work from his linemates Sangwoo Sin and Sang Wook Kim after 12:52.

Assistant captain Won Jung Kim added a second goal after 17:23 and Woo Sang Park was fed the puck nicely by Kisung Kim 13 seconds from the end of the first period to give the Korean's a comfortable 3-0 lead, which also ended up being the final score.

"Korea is a very fast but also a quite physical and strong team. All three goals we let in were down to our own mistakes in defence. In the second and third period we were quite good," said Lithuania defender Petras Nauseda after the game.

"Our team is young and we played our second game in the tournament with a roster of 15 players. Today we will get two more guys coming from Great Britain and so I think the next games will be easier and easier for us."

Forwards Darius Pliskauskas and Mindaugas Kieras, both from the Slough Jets, should be available for Lithuania's next game against Australia. Lithuania are also expecting a third player, Pijus Rulevicius, to join up with the team within the next few days.

Poland vs. Romania 10-0 (3-0, 3-0, 4-0)

Romania blanked as Poland scores ten, with defender Adam Borzecki getting five points.

"Poland I think is the best team in this tournament. I think there isn't a team here that has six forwards like their top six, as well as a couple of their defenceman. For us who have been coming up a division. It is a challenge to play at that pace they do," said Romania's Canadian head coach Tom Skinner.

Romania who decided to rest forwards Ede Mihaly and Tihamer Becze who were carrying minor knocks for this game also opted to give 21-year-old Gellert Ruczuj his World Championship debut between the pipes. The HSC Csikszereda reserve goaltender got a tough start, conceding his first goal after 1:07 when Mikolaj Lopuski got Poland ahead. Romania was offered chances to get back into the game with two successive powerplays, but failed to take the opportunity and instead it was Krzysztof Zapala and Poland who increased the lead to 2-0. With the first intermisson looming and with Poland on the power-play, star defenceman Adam Borzecki started a fine move from his own zone, played it to the right for Laszkiewicz who with speed and skill found Poland's best player of the game Damian Slabon who steered in 3-0 to the hosts with 11 seconds left of the period.

An energetic start to the second period from Romania saw them create sustained pressure in the Polish zone, before a penalty call on Pisarenko for holding took the edge of their efforts. In the ensuing powerplay Borzecki played a pass behind his back to Lopuski who got his second of the evening at 26:40. Poland scored their fifth goal of the evening with a fine Laszkiewcz slapshot before Wajda and Laszkiewicz combined nicely to set-up Damian Slabon who made it 6-0 with 38:59 on the clock.

Regular first choice Adrian Catronoi Cornea replaced the unlucky Ruczuj in goal for the final period, and the Romanian netminder started well with an acrobatic save on a Maciej Urbanowicz effort. Poland kept the foot on the gas with Jaroslaw Rzeszutko and Laszkiewicz adding a goal each to make it 8-0. 23-year-old Dzubinski showed that there is still hope for good young players coming through in the Polish game scored the two final goals of the game.

Poland head coach Wiktor Pysz praised his team for its performance post-match: "I am happy for the second win of the tournament. It is important that we follow our plan fast action, fast shots, and I am happy for the whole team, especially for our goaltender Odrobny, who played really well and saved a few clear chances that Romania had in the game."

HENRIK MANNINEN

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