Israel fights back in OT win
by Henrik Manninen|15 DEC 2019
Israel showed great determination when rallying back to beat Kyrgyzstan 5-4 after overtime during Group K in Brasov.
photo: Attila Szabo
Trailing 2-4 with less than four minutes left of their final game at the 2019 Men's Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 2 Group K in Brasov, Israel appeared to be down and out.

But Ty Newberry´s young crop of players showed great resilience to battle back to score three unanswered goals in their 5-4 overtime win against Kyrgyzstan.

"We focused on what we did good in our previous games and tried to improve it. We played good on the defense, skated as hard as we could and we got the puck into the net. Simple play, simple hockey. We are happy to win this one," said Israel´s Maor Sherf.

The second oldest player on the Israeli team, 25-year-old Sherf scored Israel´s 4-3 goal that got the wheels in motion. Also on the scoresheet for Israel were Itay Vaitz, Itay Mostovoy, Avihai Ibragimov and Itay Ben Tov. Yehonatan Reisinger was once against in inspiring form and recorded 40 saves.

Vladimir Nosov scored a double for Kyrgyzstan. Artem Gorobets and Ersultan Nirbekov both tallied for a dejected Kyrgyz team where netminder Alexander Petrov played their final game of Group K with a broken finger.

After 120 minutes of Olympic Qualification play in Group K without a goal, Israel needed only 26 seconds to get in front against Kyrgyzstan. After a battle in front of Petrov´s net, Israel´s Ben Tov bundled in the opener.

Kyrgyzstan drew level when Nosov snapped up a feed from Alexander Titov to slot the puck past Reisinger at 7:48.

In the battle between the two winless teams so far, the Central Asians got in front 19 seconds later with Mirbekov poached on an Anton Kudashev pass in front of the net for 2-1.

Kyrgyzstan continued to show attacking endeavor throughout most of the first period and got their reward 21 seconds before the buzzer. Kuzma Terentyev weighed up his options from the left face-off circle, found Nosov in the slot whose accomplished finish stretched their lead to 3-1.

With both teams icing young teams with an average age of just 21, Israel got into gear during an evenly matched middle frame.

Kyrgyzstan´s Mirbekov was already served a slashing minor when Vladimir Nichipurenko was penaltized for the same offense.

Head coach Newberry took a time-out and playing 5 on 3 for 1:37, before Israel eventually capitalized on their golden opportunity. Playing on a one man advantage Ibragimov fired home a rebound from a Dan Hoffman shot to pull one back to with 3:08 left of the middle frame.

After Kyrgyzstan´s first line lead by Nosov had squandered a few golden opportunities in the third period, Israel surged ahead on a breakaway move that finished with a Sherf backhand slotted past Petrov with 3:51 left of the game.

Sherf soon after had the chance to draw the game level. After being dragged down by the Kyrgyz rearguard when through on Petrov´s net, Sherf then failed to capitalized on his ensuing penalty shot.

But Israel refused to give up and with 73 seconds left of regular time, Mostovoy forced the puck past Petrov in the Kyrgyz net during a goalmouth scramble.

Then during overtime, Kyrgyzstan´s Mikhail Chuvalov was denied brilliantly when through with Reisinger, before with 1:30 left of overtime, Vaitz carried the puck from his defensive zone and from centre ice boomed home a slapshot past the hapless Petrov to the delight of the Israeli players and the two handfuls of their supporters inside Brasov´s Olympice Ice Hall.

"Our new coach Ty Newberry has been very positive with us since he took over. He is pushing us forward and uses a lot of young players," said Israel´s Sherf. "Most of the players here at the Olympic Qualification are from the U20´s and we now want to push them to our senior national team," he said as Israel is newcomers at the 2020 World Championship Division IIA played in Zagreb, Croatia from 19-25 April.

Despite their late capitulation against Israel, up-and-coming Kyrgyzstan showed plenty of enthusiasm and attacking endeavor to become an exciting addition in upcoming World Championship play. It all bodes well ahead of the 2020 IIHF World Championship Division IV played in Kyrgyzstan´s capital Bishkek between 3-5 March 2020 when the hosts take on Kuwait, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Kyrgyzstan vs. Israel - 2019 OQM Gr. K