First victory for Ukraine
by Henrik Manninen|01 MAY 2019
Andri Mikhnov #8 (left) was in imposing form with six points against the Netherlands.
photo: HENDRIK SOOTS
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A 45 second period goal spree saw Ukraine capitalize three times as they grabbed their first win at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Tallinn, Estonia.

Ukraine´s 8-1 win against the Netherlands means they now climb up to the safer ground in the table and can start looking upwards ahead of their final two games.

"It was one of the most important games of the tournament for us. We battled back and scored goals as we had to win this game for survival," said Ukraine´s Mykyta Kovalenko.

Emphatically outshooting the Dutch 48-10, captain Andri Mikhnov had a field day scoring a couple and added four helpers. His linemates Vitali Lyalka tallied 1+4 and Vadym Mazur had a goal and two assists.

Winless after their first three matches, the Netherlands will be greatly boosted ahead of their final two games in their bid for survival.

A contingent of Tilburg Trappers players - Reno de Hondt, Giovanni Vogelaar, Jordy Verkiel, Ryan Collier and Danny Stempher - who all last night finished their playoff final series in the German Oberliga, will as of tomorrow skate for the orange and white in Tallinn.

"They will definitely help. They are five really good players, so it will also help everyone else. Now you can go all out every shift and not try and save you energy," said captain Steve Mason who scored the lone marker for the Netherlands.
Netherlands vs. Ukraine - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B
After two losses Ukraine got its first win at the Division IB. And what a win it was: 8-1 against the Netherlands!
NED UKR 01 MAY 2019
Despite dominating puck possession and winning the shots 16-4, Ukraine had to wait until 27 seconds to go of the first period before getting off the mark. Mikhnov took on the Dutch defence, deked Rick van Haren, but saw his first effort saved by Tomislav Hrelja before the rebound unluckily deflected into the Dutch net.

Last time these two teams met were at the 2013 World Championships Division IB in Donetsk, Ukraine. Back then it finished with a 3-2 overtime win for Ukraine.

7:23 into the second frame and with Kovalenko serving a two-minute minor, the Dutch tied the game. Mason, from the right faceoff circle, converted high on the blocker side with traffic in front of Bogdan Dyachenko.

But Ukraine kept storming forward and soon was rewarded in goals. At 32:40, Olexander Peresunko had first seen his effort save before picking out Danil Skrypets whose shot slipped through the five hole of Hrelja and into the net.

11 seconds later with the Dutch seemingly going all-attack, blueliner Igor Merezhko netted to stretch Ukraine´s lead to 3-1.

Lyalka added number four when he in front the Dutch net tipped in Tolstushko´s shot at 33:25.

"The puck was always in their zone, we controlled the game, but just couldn't score. Maybe we started to take to many passes, but once we started shoting, then the puck started to go in," said Kovalenko.

With four minutes left of the middle frame, Andri Grygoryev´s effort from the right point was found Mazur in front of the net who got two attempts before tangling home Ukraine´s fifth.

Last year´s fourth-place finish in Division IB was Ukraine´s worst overall finish since entering IIHF competition in 1993. Eager to try and turn the tide, the steamed on in the final frame and added another three goals.

On a man advantage, Mazur found Lyalka who fed to the far post where Mikhnov steered in Ukraine´s sixth at 44:34

Just over five minutes later and once again on the powerplay, the roles were reversed as Mikhnov turned provider to Lyalka who scored at the far post on Hrelja´s glove side.

Lyalka closed the scoring with 71 seconds to go as Ukraine now take on high-flying neighbours Romania up next tomorrow.

"Now we will have a good rest, try and beat Romania and Estonia who are left to play and try to get a bronze medal, it would mean a lot to us," said Kovalenko.

A new-look Netherlands entertains Japan tomorrow, hoping that their new arrivals will give them a shift in fortunes.

"I think we now need to take care of our bodies now as it been a tough three games with a lot of shifts for everybody. I think at times we can be a bit more aggressive and I think we get a bit sloppy at times. As there are many good teams in this tournament, they will make you pay" said Mason.
Netherlands vs. Ukraine - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B