With the win Hungary leads the standings with two wins while Lithuania has a 0-2 record. The Lithuanians tried to react after losing to Slovenia last night and gave the Magyars a tough battle. Hungary outshot Lithuania 45-34 in an entertaining game with strong goalies keeping the score low.
The game was loaded with action already in the first minute. Lithuanian forward Paulius Gintautas tried it with a wraparound after half a minute of play but saw his attempt blocked and moments later his team being behind.
At the other end the Hungarians used an invitation to score with a giveaway from Ugnius Cizas in his own zone. Balazs Sebok took the puck at the right face-off dot and shot it past a defender and Lithuanian goaltender Mantas Armalis to give Hungary the lead after 51 seconds of play.
“It was a nice feeling to get a goal after five seconds on the ice,” said Sebok.
“We weren’t surprised by Lithuania. We kind of knew what we were going to get and they played well against Slovenia. They were surprisingly good with the puck and they kind of forced their game on us. I wished we could have scored more goals. Their goalie was fantastic today as was ours. It was a tough game and a big win for us.”
At 3:38 the Magyars were cheering for their second goal when a high shot from Istvan Sofron hit the post high but the video review confirmed that the puck didn’t cross the line. However, a penalty shot was awarded for interference and Janos Hari deked Armalis to make it 2-0.
The Lithuanians were not ready to give it up. At 7:03 they used their power play after just four seconds when captain Nerijus Alisauskas hammered the puck into the net from behind the face-off circles.
The game continued to go back and forth with Hungary having the upper hand but Lithuania remaining dangerous and ready to tie the game anytime. A penalty call against Hungary’s Rasmus Kulmala for slashing with 2:52 left kept the game exciting and the Hungarian fans cheering on their team until the end while Lithuania played 5-on-4 and later 6-on-4 without goalie.
“We worked hard until the end of the game. We never game up. They’re a strong team but we showed that we can play with these guys these last two games,” said Lithuanian netminder Armalis, who made 43 saves.
“The next games are very important games, they are the most important ones for us. Our job at first is to stay in this group. Had we won this game, who knows what would have been but now it is what it is and we came from the lower group. Our goal has to be to stay here and to build something further.”
The Hungarians managed to withstand the pressure of the last minutes and defend the one-goal lead in the game and the lead in the standings.
Both teams will have a day off before the action continues for them. On Friday Lithuania will play Korea while Hungary will face Slovenia in a neighbouring clash that is much anticipated in Ljubljana.