Dutch get off the mark
by Henrik Manninen|02 MAY 2019
The Netherlands in joyous mood after beating Japan 3-2
With zero points on board and shipping eight goals against your relegation-rival Ukraine in the previous round it seemed like all but lost in the Dutch quest for survival.

But all is not over just yet. Boosted by the arrival of Reno de Hondt, Giovanni Vogelaar, Jordy Verkiel, Ryan Collier and Danny Stempher it sparked the Netherlands to a 3-2 win against Japan.

Newcomers de Hondt, Vogelaar and Stempher all tallied for the Netherlands who never relinquished their lead against Japan. Martijn Oosterwijk got his second start in Tallinn, saved 41 shots and was voted Best Player of the Game of the winning team.

"A few more guys on the roster added a little quality to our team. They are good players and you can see what they can do, but so did the other guys in what was a great team effort," said Dutch captain Joey Oosterweld.

With three points on board, the Netherlands are still bottom of the standings in Division IB. Playing high-flying Romania in their final game, it promises to be an exciting prospect between two teams desperate for a win.

Boosted by their victory, the Netherlands now hopes Ukraine and Estonia will drop points today and then themselvs finish off on a high in Tallinn.

"You want to win all your games and that is what we are going to try and do," said Oosterweld. "If you going into a game with any other attitude you won´t accomplish it. We will go in there with to win and then we´ll see."

Japan has two wins and two defeats in Tallinn which so far been a disappointment for one of the pre-tournament favourites. Against the Netherlands, they didn´t get going until it was too late.

"Especially first and second period we didn´t play well. We knew they had the size and changed from previous games with new players on the team," said a disappointed Yuki Miura.

"We knew it was not going to be an easy game. We were mentally prepared but certain details in our game, such as winning our 50-50 battles didn´t work."
Japan vs. Netherlands - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B
JPN NED 02 MAY 2019
The Netherlands drew first blood thanks to one of their late arrivals from Tilburg Trappers. 9:27 into the opening frame and with the Dutch on the powerplay, Japan goalie Michikazu Hata gave a rebound on a Vogelaar wrister from the right faceoff circle. When Ryo Hashiba was unable to clear the puck in front of the net, de Hondt bundled in the opening marker.

Having won their first period of the tournament, the Dutch got into trouble in the second frame. As Japan squandered a golden opportunity to get back into the game, playing five-on-three for 25 seconds, it was instead the Dutch who stretched their lead. Stempher had just got back on the ice following his two-minute minor when he picked up Steven Mason pass and fed Vogelaar who drove his shot low past Hata for a shorthanded goal at 11:02 into the middle frame.

Their previous meeting at this level had finished with a 6-1 win for Japan at the 2017 IIHF World Championship Division I Group B in Belfast. In Tallinn two years later, the outcome was to be reversed.

Emphatically outshooting the Dutch in the final frame 23-6, Japan had to wait until 5:48 left of the game before getting off the mark. Hiromichi Terao´s drive from the centre point slipped through the five-hole of Oosterwijk.

It was a goal which ignited Japan as they now started to win battles and put more pressure on Oosterwijk´s net.

Japan pulled Hata with 2:16 left. But following efforts by Yuri Terao and Yushiroh Hirano, the Dutch snapped up the puck with Stempher scoring an empty netter with 1:32 to go.

Trailing by two goals, Japan head coach Yuji Iwamoto once again pulled Hata from the net with 1:20 left.

With 32 seconds left of the game, Makuru Furuhashi scored from the right boards as the puck sneaked past Oosterwijk.

But it was all too little, too late for Japan. Facing promotion chasing Poland in their final game, Japan aims to finish on a high and see where it can take them in terms of medal and final position.

"It is tough for us. You can't change what happened. Even if we cannot win the championship, we will do all we can in our final game playing for our country," said Miura.
Japan vs. Netherlands - 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B