Kazakhstan crowned champions of 2024 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division 1A
by Ameeta VOHRA|16 DEC 2023
Austria halted Kazakhstan's undefeated streak.  However, the team still claimed gold on the final day of play in the 2024 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship, Division 1A, in Budapest, Hungary.

With this tournament result, Kazakhstan is promoted to compete at the 2025 World Junior Championship.
France took home the silver medal. Denmark earned the bronze medal.
Kazakhstan’s Vladimir Nitikin was named goaltender of the tournament. France’s James Eyre was the top defensive player, while Emil Tavernier was the top forward.
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation


Albert Schioldan tallied a pair of goals for Denmark as the team capped the tournament with a victory.
Denmark scored two goals in a span of 1:49 in the first period.  Tristan Petersen fed Thomas Mondrup a pass from the boards.  Mondrup finished the play by getting the puck past goaltender Sazuku Kudo for the first goal.
On a two-on-one breakaway, Hjalte Thomsen connected with Schioldan, who went top-shelf on Kudo.
With 3:17 left in the first period, Japan pulled within one goal of the lead.  Aoi Sasanuma passed the puck over from the boards to Sota Takeda, who blasted it past goaltender Tobias Vilykke’s legs for the score.
Edvard Lundmark increased Denmark’s lead as he flipped the puck into Japan’s net with 41.4 seconds remaining in the second period.
Demark added some extra insurance in the final period.  Oliver Marloth connected with Daniel Olsson, who launched the puck into the net. Kudo had no chance on the play.
Schioldan rounded out the scoring. He was fed the puck from Sebastian Skovning from the back of the net for the score.
The players of the game were Petersen from Denmark and Takeda from Japan. Anton Linde from Denmark and Taistetsu Ushio from Japan were named players of the tournament.
Denmark finished the tournament with a 3-0-2 record, while Japan ended the week with a 0-1-4 mark.
“It was an important game for us because we had the chance for the medals,” Petersen said. “Hopefully, this victory
will be enough for that.”
Petersen said Denmark was satisfied with their performance in Budapest amid the stiff competition they faced the entire week. They were also looking ahead to the future.
“We started a little bit slower in the tournament, but we kept working, and today we won,” he said.  “This event was a great setup. I liked it; it was good teams and tight games. Next year, we will have a better team, so hopefully, we will get the A pool.  We look forward to it.”
As for Japan, it was a roller-coaster journey during the tournament.
“We didn’t have a good start in the tournament,” Ushio said. “We played against Austria in the first day, we lost 5-2. We fixed some things and came out against Hungary, and we won. During the last games against Kazakhstan and Denmark, we worked hard. We know these teams are better, but we played tough games anyway.”
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation


The arena was lively and electric as goaltender Patrik Csala stopped all 35 shots he faced to give host Hungary their first win.
Hungary scored their first goal 3:23 into the first period.  Gergo Mihalik backflipped the puck in the French zone.  A French defender tried to clear it, but Ferenc Laskawy found the puck. He turned around and shot it past goaltender Mathis Thiron for the goal.
Hungary scored a pair of goals 34 seconds apart early in the second period. Levente Simon rushed in from the right side of the net. He blasted in the puck between Thiron’s knees for the goal.
After a faceoff, a French defender attempted to clear out the puck and turned it over to Balazs Hiezl. Great back-and-forth passing between Hiezl and Csanad Ravasz resulted in Hiezl scoring the goal.
The lone goal of the third period came from Bence Hovarth, who went top-shelf on Thiron.
The players of the game were Ravasz for Hungary and Raphael de Graca Brites for France. Marton Nemes from Hungary and Teo Toubans-Besnier from France were named players of the tournament.
Hungary finished the tournament with a 1-0-4 record, while France ended the week with a 3-0-1 mark.
Hungary credited team cohesion for their win on Saturday.
“At the end of the tournament, our team formed a unit,” Nemes said.  “We played effectively, and we were confident. I am sorry about the first four games. They did not go how we wanted, but we showed our character in the end.”
While the team ended up with a loss, France reflected on their tournament journey.
“The tournament was interesting for myself and the team,” da Graca Brites said.  “It was an amazing experience. We played tough games, and we enjoyed our time here.”
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation


In a nail-biter, David Cernik scored the game-winner for Austria, as they handed Kazakhstan their only loss of the tournament in a shootout.
Austria got on the scoreboard as Luca Erne walked in and launched the puck top-shelf on goaltender Artyom Shestakov 1:16 into the first period.
Kazakhstan responded over three minutes later as Alexander Kim scored a goal.
Halfway through the first period, Austria regained the lead as Jakob Lippitsch blasted the puck into the net for a shorthanded goal.
However, Kazakhstan got the equalizer on the power play.  Egor Smoliyaninov glided the puck over to Semyon Simonov, who beat goaltender Benedikt Oschgan for the score.
With less than two minutes left in the period, Erne would score his second goal of the game to put Austria ahead. Austria continued with their momentum in the second period. Kazakhstan gave away the puck, and Maximilian Wurzer scooped it up.  He passed the puck over to Thomas Klassek, who blasted it past Shestakov.
After the Klassek goal, Kazakhstan opted to replace Shestakov with Vladimir Nitikin. Momentum shifted as Kazakstan scored four straight goals, including Kim’s second of the game, a power-play marker from Ruslan Ospanov, a breakaway goal from Adil Beisembayev, and a last-minute goal from Roman Yermak.
In the third period, Austria responded with a pair of goals.  Florian Lanzinger scored earlier in the period.  With 1:17 left in regulation, Johannes Neumann drilled the puck into the net to send the game into overtime.
Overtime did not settle anything,  so it went to a shootout.  It all came down to the last shooters for each team.  Cernik was successful in his scoring attempt. Ospanov was denied by Oschgan.
The players of the game were Erne for Austria and Kim for Kazakhstan.  Lippitsch from Austria and Nitikin from Kazakhstan were named players of the tournament.
 Kazakhstan finished the tournament atop the standings with a 4-0-1 record, while Austria ended the week with a 2-1-2 mark.
“It was a spectacular game,” Austria head coach Philipp Pinter said.  “We started well, then had our moments where we were bad. Our team showed character. That's what we did the whole tournament, especially in the third period. It's great to give them the first loss of the tournament. We wanted to prove that we are a good hockey team.”