France, Kazakhstan and Austria earn victoriesFrance, Kazakhstan, and Austria earned victories on Day 1 of the 2024 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship in Budapest, Hungary.
The tournament will continue on Monday with France taking on Japan, Kazakhstan squaring off against Denmark and Austria facing host Hungary.
FRANCE 6, DENMARK 4Phileas Perrenoud scored a pair of goals, leading France to victory.
Valentin Grossetete got the game-winner with 5:02 left in the game. Mathis Dufour fed Grossetete the puck with a cross-ice pass. Grossetete went around the net and snuck the puck behind Denmark goaltender Kristers Steinberg.
Marius Andersen gave Denmark some hope, scoring two goals within a span of 1:21. It pulled Denmark to within one goal. France got some assurance from Perrenoud with five seconds left to put the game out of reach.
Hugo Raveaud, Ulysse Tournier, and Mattis Chapuis also scored for France. Oscar Moelgaard and Oliver Marloth tallied goals for Denmark.
The players of the game were Perrenoud for France and Moelgaard for Denmark.
While Denmark tried to mount a late comeback, Tavernier said the key for the French team was to remain focused on securing the win. The team now looks ahead to their game against Japan on Monday.
“It will be a good game,” he says. “After this one, we need a good recovery. It’s going to be a hard game tomorrow, so we need to be ready.”
As for Denmark, the team battled nerves. The team recognized that France capitalized on some penalties. While they played well in the remaining five minutes of the game, Denmark captain Anton Stenbakken said the team should have put forth a 60-minute effort.
“We started to play better at the end of the first period, but then in the second period, we talked about playing our system instead of being stressed out,” he says. “We didn’t succeed with that and ended up with a lot of panic situations. We took a couple of penalties that we should not have taken in a game like this because we know they are dangerous on the power play.”
KAZAKHSTAN 5, HUNGARY 2Artyom Avdeyenko scored the game-winner in the third period, and Vsevolod Logvin added a pair of assurance goals for Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan enjoyed a two-goal lead in the first period with goals from Davlat Nurkenov and Egor Smoliyaninov. Gergo Mihalik cut the deficit in half after great forechecking from the Hungarians. Bendeguz Dobos blasted the puck past Kazakstan goaltender Vladimir Nikitin for the equalizer late in the second period.
Players of the game were Nurkenov for Kazakstan and Mihalik for Hungary.
“Our team played pretty good, especially in the third period,” he says. “We scored three important goals, especially our line, I think we played well together.”
Kazakhstan is taking things one step at a time even though they are a favourite to win the championship.
“We played well in the games before the actual tournament and we have a good chance to win,” he says. “We have to play tough and don’t even look at it, have to play tough against every opponent, win every game. We can chill out and play hard every game as we do now.”
Despite turnovers, offensive mistakes, and penalties in the offensive zone, Hungary felt they put in a solid effort.
“If we eliminate these, our game will look good, and we can be effective,” Mihalik says. “On the ice, we felt we were equal, but they were better at the turning points. When they needed to score, they scored. It was great to play at home, especially when the fans were a little bit louder because we felt like there was a sixth man on the ice.”
AUSTRIA 5, JAPAN 2Jonas Dobnig had a goal and assist to lead Austria to victory over Japan.
Ian Scherzer opened up the scoring as he attempted a wrap-around score on Japanese goaltender Issa Tamura. When Japan tried to clear the puck, it came to Scherzer, and he shot it into the net. With 2:32 left in the first period, Austria extended their lead as Jakob Lippitsch went top shelf for a score.
Japan got on the scoreboard with 11.8 seconds left in the first period. Serino Tyler Maxner rushed down the left side of the rink and blasted a shot past Austrian goaltender Benedikt Oschgan.
Austria added three goals within three minutes in the second period to solidify the win. Luca Erne, Paul Reiner, and Dobnig scored for the team. Taisetsu Ushio added another tally for Japan within the last minute of play to round out the scoring.
The players of the game were Erne from Austria and Maxner from Japan.
“We knew that Japan was a dangerous team quick and very mobile,” Austria head coach Philipp Pinter says. “They transition fast, wait for our mistakes, and try to execute them quickly. We tried to be very disciplined. Our game plan was executed well today.”
With the added pressure of getting promoted back to the top division, Austria is not looking past their next game against host Hungary on Monday.
“This [getting promoted] happens in Austria every 14 years somehow,” he says. “It's a very tight group. I think every team can beat every team. For us. It was nice to get this victory. Now, it's important to get a good recovery. Tomorrow is the most important game for us.”
As for Japan, there are a lot of takeaways that they will build upon for their next game against France.
“We have some decent and good plays in the game,” Ushio says. “We got to fix stuff, but that transition and speed we have is our strength. We have small guys compared to other teams but we have a lot of speed.”