Recap: Day 3 – IIHF U20 World Championship, Division 1A
by Ameeta VOHRA|14 DEC 2023
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
Kazakhstan is the last team standing with a perfect record
Kazakhstan remained undefeated, while Japan and Denmark scored their first victory on Day 3 of the 2024 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship, Division 1A in Budapest, Hungary.

The tournament continues Thursday with Kazakhstan facing off against Japan, France tangling with Austria, and host Hungary squaring off against Denmark.


Davlat Nurkenov tallied a pair of goals, and Vladimir Nitikin earned a shutout as Kazakhstan handed France their first loss.

In the first period, France was on a power play when Dmitriy Breus snatched the puck and broke away to the right side of the ice.  He passed it to Nurkenov, who blasted it past France goaltender Antoine Keller to score a shorthanded goal.

Halfway through the second period, Kazakhstan capitalized on their power play opportunity.  Egor Smoliyaninov began the play behind the net. Kazakhstan's great passing led to Smoliyaninov’s ability to beat the goaltender for the goal.

Kazakhstan added some assurance with two goals in a span of 1:49 in the third period.  Nurkenov netted his second goal on the power play while Semyon Simonov shot the puck over the shoulder of Keller.

The players of the game were Smoliyaninov for Kazakhstan and Teo Toubans-Besnier for France.
Kazakhstan’s key to victory was the confidence Nitikin showed throughout the game. He credits the team for helping him get the shutout.

“I think the goal difference was the key today,” he said. “It was many shots. My team was a big help today – thank you, team, thank you guys. Thank you for the support from fans.”

As for France, they were not able to counteract Kazakhstan’s attack.

“We tried to play, be offensive, but he was a big goaltender in front of us,” Keller said.  “We could not go in the middle…we tried to play, but we took a lot of punches, and it is pretty hard to be in PK [penalty kill] against a good team who moves the puck a lot.”


Junya Kokuwa scored 16 seconds into overtime and gave Japan their first victory over host Hungary.

Japan got onto the scoreboard 30 seconds into the game. Hungary tried to clear the puck out of their zone but turned it over to Fuji Suzuki. He scored to put Japan in front.  About two minutes later, Japan increased their lead when Tanaka Raito fed the puck to Aoi Sasanuma, who was in front of the net and scored a goal.

After Japan’s second goal, Hungary changed goaltenders as Patrik Csala replaced Levente Hegedus. When Hungary won the faceoff in the Japanese zone, Krisztian Franyo shot the puck from the point and touched Martin Nemes before it passed Tamura to cut the deficit by one.

Hungary tied it up with 1:47 remaining in the first period as Oliver Farkas quickly released the puck past Tamura.   With 35 seconds left, Japan regained the lead as Junya Kokuwa rushed in from the right side of the ice and launched the puck past Csala.

Halfway through the second period, Hungary got the equalizer on the powerplay. Laszlo Farkas shot the puck toward the net. When Tamura moved to one side of the net, it left an opening for Maxim Szabo Racz to score.
Hungary’s momentum continued into the third period.  Over two minutes into the period, Tamura saved Hungary’s shot on the net, but Csanad Ravasz found the rebound and got the puck into the net.

With the extra attacker out for Japan, the team tied the game up as Rin Takada scored with 19 seconds left in regulation.

Kokuwa’s goal in overtime was his second of the game.

The players of the game were Kokuwa for Japan and Csala for Hungary.
For Kokuwa, scoring the overtime winner was a special moment.

“I played at the under-18 nationals last April so that was good preparation for me,” he said.  “This was the happiest moment of my life."

While Hungary was on the losing side, the team took away some positives from the game.

“We started badly, but the positive thing is that we came back from a two-goal difference and turned the game around,” Alex Horvath said. “There are games when luck is not on your side at the end. Everyone is disappointed."


Denmark staved off a late comeback attempt by Austria to earn their first win.

Almost halfway through the first period, Denmark opened the scoring as Daniel Olsson shot the puck past the right side of goaltender Benedikt Oschgan as he sprawled to save it.

Austria got the equalizer 37 seconds later when Ian Scherzer launched the puck into the net.

With 1:14 left in the second period, Denmark regained the lead on the power play as great passing between Anton Linde and Oscar Moelgaard led to Albert Schioldan’s goal.

Oliver Marloth and Hjalte Thomsen strengthened Denmark’s lead, scoring 1:22 apart in the third period. Linde connected with Marloth, who quickly released his shot for the score.  Austria turned over the puck in their zone and Denmark capitalized on the opportunity as Thomsen blasted it into the net.

With over 12 minutes remaining in the game, Martin Reder replaced Oschgan.  Afterward, Austria began to mount a late comeback. 

Patrick Sollinger launched the puck, which touched Florian Lanzinger before it went into the net with 11:14 left in the game.

With 3:43 left in the game, David Cernik snuck the puck behind goaltender Kristers Steinbergs, and Ian Scherzer was right there to blast it into the net.

Reder was pulled out of the game in favour of the extra attacker in the last 41 seconds.  It was too little too late, as Denmark secured the win.

The players of the game were Anton Linde for Denmark and Tobias Piuk for Austria.
Denmark held off Austria by working as a team to secure their first win.

“We fought all together and kept going,” Linde said.  “We showed how hard work pays off, so we kept going and got the win.  It was an amazing feeling.”

Austria suffered their first loss because they fell behind from the start.

“We didn't start the way we wanted to the first period,” Luca Auer said. “The second was a little bit better, then, in the third, we started to play our game. It was just the first period. Discipline and penalties cost us the game.”