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Men's Ice Hockey IIHF Lower Divisions World Championships 2018

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10 minutes ago, lapaj said:

Was it an exaited tournament? :)


This was just the most excited and most memorable Division I A or if you want B category world championships I ever watched.


So pity and sad for you guys, I hoped to see the fantastic Hungarian fans in Košice :( lost it this way 15 seconds to go at home, this must be a terrible and painful experience. really wish next year you´ll do it and qualify for 2020.

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5 minutes ago, hckosice said:


This was just the most excited and most memorable Division I A or if you want B category world championships I ever watched.


So pity and sad for you guys, I hoped to see the fantastic Hungarian fans in Košice :( lost it this way 15 seconds to go at home, this must be a terrible and painful experience. really wish next year you´ll do it and qualify for 2020.

Thanks for your words! :cool:

But if I think seeing the whole tournament, the British team totally deserved the promotion! 

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2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A
In Tilburg, :NED , 23-29 April 2018


Saturday April 28th, 2018 -

Round-Robin Day 4 Results (GMT +2)


13:00  :CHN China  3 - 1  Iceland :ISL

16:30  :BEL Belgium  2 - 10  Netherlands :NED

20:00  :SRB Serbia  4 - 5PSO  Australia :AUS


Provisional Standing after Day 4:

1. Netherlands 12 pts, 2. Australia 11 pts, 3. Serbia 7 pts, 4. China 3 pts, 5. Belgium 3 pts, 6. Iceland 0 pts.


*Serbia is assured to finish 3rd and won the Bronze medal.

**Iceland is assured to finish last and will be relegated to the Division II Group B 2019.


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Tomorrows schedule of the very last day of the lower world championships divisions 2018



2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A
In Tilburg, :NED , 23-29 April 2018


Sunday April 29th, 2018 -

Round-Robin Last Day Schedule (GMT +2)


13:00  :BEL Belgium vs China :CHN

16:30  :NED Netherlands vs Australia :AUS

20:00  :ISL Iceland vs Serbia :SRB


*NED vs AUS - is the direct match for the gold and promotion to the Division I Group B.

the winner of the match (Doesn´t matter if in Regulation Time or after OT/GWS) will win the tournament and qualify for the Div I B where they will replace Croatia, freshly relegated from this years Div I B tournament finished today in Lithuania.

**Belgium vs China is the direct match for the 4th and 5th place.

***ISL vs SRB will have no impact for the final raking of both teams, Serbia is assured to finish on bronze medal positions and Iceland is unfortunately already relegated to the Division II Group B where they will replace Spain, freshly promoted team from this years Div II B tournament held couple of weeks ago in Spain.









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Saturday 28th April, 2018
















HUNGARY - GREAT BRITAIN   2-3  After Penalty Shoot-Out







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I just can't believe it that Great Britain is playing in the same division as Finland next year! :yikes:

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so,our empty net in the end helped italy to go in the next round.we are friendly neighbour

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Lithuania moving up

Next stop: Division I A




In the battle of the Baltics, Pavilas Verenis scored a brace while blueliners Nerijus Alisauskas and Jaunius Jasinevicius scored one apiece as Lithuania went undefeated through the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B in Kaunas.

Lithuania's 4-1 final day win sealed their promotion to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A. Japan finished second to win silver while Estonia slipped down to third in Division I Group B.

"I think one of the biggest influence to our success was the arrival of Darius Kasparaitis and Dainius Zubrus to our team. We had read about them, but we never had them together in our locker room. We have a good team, but those two guys made the difference," said Lithuania's captain of the evening, Mindaugas Kieras who played his 100th and last game for Lithuania this evening.

Robert Rooba got Estonia's marker as they went ahead before conceding four straight unanswered goals. Villem-Henrik Koitmaa recorded 39 saves and was voted the best goalkeeper of the tournament by the Directorate.

"They guys gave it all and I am very proud of them. You could see right after the game that the players are disappointed as there was so much at stake. In the third period we still had chances which could have gotten us close, but tonight we lost against worthy winners and the best team of the tournament" said Estonia's head coach Jussi Tupamaki being gracious in defeat.

The clash got off to an intriguing start as it was the surprise package Estonia that got in front. Lithuania's netminder Mantas Armalis had lost his stick when Rooba surprised by snapping a trademark wrister from the left boards after 4:20 for a shock lead that helped settle Estonian nerves.

"It was such an important game for gold or bronze, and I've never played in front of so many people so it was a bit nervous, but when you got into the game it was ok," said Estonia's Artjom Gornostajev.

The lead only lasted for just over three minutes before Zubrus won a draw and Alisauskas hit a bullet from the blueline for this first of the tournament to tie the game at one.

"I was impressed by Estonia, they have a young team now and new guys stepping in and playing really good hockey without trying to make any mistakes. We knew they were a good team, but we felt that they would have to do something extra in order to take the win away from us," said Kieras.

Winning the shots in the first frame 14-7, Lithuania went in front when Daniel Bogdziul fed Jasinevicius who lofted a shot past Koitmaa for 2-1 after 15:42.

With the game still in the balance, Tadas Kumeliauskas collected the puck from his own defensive zone and charged towards Estonia's net, got intercepted by Marko Kettunen before the puck went to Verenis who showed no hesitation to hit high past Koitmaa to stretch Lithuania's lead to 3-1 at 35:58

With Verenis serving a cross-checking minor at the start of the final frame, Estonia piled up the pressure on powerplay with Robert Arrak and Andrei Makrov both denied by Armalis.

As Estonia's energy level deteriorated, Tupamaki called a timeout with 8:53 for a well-deserved breather. With 3:41 left of the game, Estonia pulled Koitmaa from the net, but it took only 20 seconds before Verenis converted an empty-netter as the crowd got on their feet to celebrate a memorable night for Lithuanian hockey and its heroes.


Japan routs Ukraine

Final day win secures medal

Two powerplay goals and a helper from Japan's top scorer Ryo Hashimoto led the way in a 7-1 destruction that crushed Ukraine's hopes for a medal at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B.

Shogo Nakajima also played an influential role for Japan with three assists, while netminder Yutaka Fukufuji enjoyed a solid game with 27 saves.

Japan has at least bronze secured but still has hopes for better things. They now need to keep fingers crossed for Lithuania to beat Estonia in regulation time during the final game to get their hands on the silver medals.

"We came here to win gold and play creative hockey, but we now look to play with a more aggressive style with more shots and passes than we used to do in the past," said head coach Yuji Iwamoto as he looks to stamp his authority on Japan.

"In our game against Lithuania, my players were perhaps a bit afraid at times. If we want to win gold we need to be stronger and physically cope with this level while also be more confident," continued Iwamoto in the aftermath of completing his first World Championship as head coach of Japan.

Having been relegated from Division 1A last year, Ukraine now had to settle for fourth spot at the 2018 Division 1B in Kaunas and recording its lowest ever overall position since they entered World Championship play in 1993.

Andri Mikhnov scored Ukraine's lone marker against Japan. Bogdan Dyachenko made 19 saves on 25 shots was replaced by Sergi Gaiduchenko with 14:32 to go.

"We had put all our efforts into yesterday's game against Lithuania and were very tired as we had a very short period of recovery ahead of this afternoon game," said Ukraine's assistant coach Oleg Shafarenko.

The point gained in last night's match against the hosts ensured survival in the division for Ukraine. In the wake of their late-night push against Lithuania to overtime, Ukraine struggled from the outset with the pace of Japan.

Dyachenko left a rebound from a shot fired from the left face-off circle by Seiya Hayata with Yushi Nakayashiki reacting quickest to draw first blood after 2:38.

The men in black doubled their lead as they converted on powerplay after 7:47. Moving the puck swiftly, Hiromichi Terao picked out Japan's top scorer Hashimoto who had time to stop the puck with his skate before firing past Dyachenko for 2-0.

Ukraine needed a regular time win in order to win bronze, got a chance to claw themselves into the game. Playing on a 5-on-3 man advantage and holding the puck well, they lacked the killer touch with Dmytro Ignatenko having the final chance to score before the end of the first frame.

Still playing on a one-man advantage, Mikhnov took things into his own hands at 22:19 to cut inside from the right past Kenta Tagaki to fire between the pads of Fukufuji to cut back the deficit to 2-1.

Lethal on the powerplay, Hashimoto stretched Japan's lead to 3-1 after firing from the blueline on the powerplay at 27:05. Tomoya Echigo reacted quickly on a rebound for 4-1 with 4:41 left of the middle frame, before Ukraine's Dmytro Ignatenko slammed a bullet from the blueline off the post just before the second intermission.

Goshi Ito bagged Japan's fifth as he whipped a wrist shot from the slot for 5-1. The misery continued for Ukraine, as Shogo Nakajima surged down from the right to find Echigo who picked out Hiroto Sato for a composed finish as Japan's scored its sixth at 45:28.

In order to halt their slide, Ukraine head coach Olexander Savitsky called a time-out, replaced Dyachenko with Gaiduchenko, before Kenta Takagi closed the scoring with 9:06 as Japan's completed their 7-1 rout.

"Japan was better than us in all components of the game and their league is currently much stronger than ours. We need a more powerful championship and then we will have a better national team," said Shafarenko.


Romania survives

Sweeps Croatia aside to beat drop

A Romanian goal-spree downed Croatia 7-3 in the battle against relegation to stay in the Division I Group B. Croatia takes the step down to Division IIA.


Romania finally found the goal with ease when it mattered the most. Csanad Fodor and Daniel Tranca both tallied 1+3. At the other end, Patrik Polc recorded 40 saves as his displays in his first World Championship played a crucial role in Romania's survival.

Romania's final day 7-3 win at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division 1 Group B in Kaunas is their first at this level since 2013. Their last two previous appearances in division 1B in 2014 and 2016 both ended with straight relegation.

"We faced some adversity throughout the tournament as we have played with a short line up. We really needed this win today, and having gained a point in Japan in the previous game us a big boost going into this game," said Romania's captain Roberto Gliga.

Croatia who has played five consecutive years in Division 1B will next year take a step down to Division 2A. David Brine scored a brace for Croatia while Vito Nikolic made his World Championship debut in net with 16:24 left of the contest.

Romania who needed a regulation time win to ensure survival got off to a flying start 5:25 into the game. Fodor instigated the moved before Tranca picked out Molnar at the far post who slipped in a backhand past Mate Tomljenovic.

The same line was at it at again after 11:31. 2-0 arrived following Fodor's feed from behind Tomljenovic's cage found an on-rushing Tranca who calmly slotted the puck into Croatia's net.

Romania stretched their lead to three unanswered goals courtesy of a fine breakaway goal. 20-year-old Tamas Reszegh flew down the left wing, picked out Fodor cross-ice who boomed home a one-timer at 27:39.

Croatia got a golden chance to claw their way into the game as Romania get into penalty trouble. Romania's blueline duo Catalin-Adrian Berdila and Tihamer Gyorfy both got hooking minors as Croatia stepped up the pressure on a 5-on-3. Failing to capitalize Croatia got another chance soon after with Romania's Tranca serving a cross-checking call, but it as to be all in vain.

"We had some chances to score early in the game, couldn't score and our powerplay wasn't working so it was a tough afternoon and every time we gave away a two-on-one they scored," said Croatia head coach Enio Sacilotto.

Buoyed by managing to keep the puck of their net, Romania surged forward as Tranca, Molnar and Gliga linked up for Romania's fourth on the afternoon. Domen Vedlin replied for Croatia's first of the afternoon with 2:39 left of the frame to cut the deficit to 4-1. Soon after, Borna Rendulic went clear with Polc, but failed to score during a dour afternoon for Croatia in Zalgiris Arena.

While on powerplay Hugo Gecse shot from the blueline saw Tomljenovic leave a rebound, Gergo Biro reacted quickest for Romania's fifth. When Balazs Peter outmuscled the Croatian defence to pick out Zsolt Peter to hit home 6-1 for Romania the game was effectively over.

Tomljenovic was replaced by 20-year-old debutant Nikolic and while Brine pulled on back for Croatia with 8:31 left, Tamas Reszegh still had time to score Romania's seventh of the afternoon, before Brine scored his second to close the scoring on a 5-on-3.



In front of 10,170 ecstatic home fans, Lithuania celebrates winning gold in Division 1B after downing Estonia, 4-1.



Results Thread



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2 ore fa, mihamiha ha scritto:

so,our empty net in the end helped italy to go in the next round.we are friendly neighbour


sure, my friend! :beer:


p.s. by the way, it could have gone the opposite way, with Italy helping SLO if you had been able to score first in our empty net...:lol:;)

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Great Britain & Italy up!

Farmer scores clinching goal with 15.8 seconds left


From dreamers to winners: Congrats Great Britain and see you next year at the 2019 WCh in Slovakia!



Great Britain got the point it needed when Robert Farmer tied the game against Hungary at two with 15.8 seconds left in regulation time.


We are going up! We are going up!” the British fans chanted on the tribune. 15.8 seconds were missing in regulation time that changed everything. For a long time it looked like host Hungary would win the game in regulation time and get promoted together with Kazakhstan in a four-team tie at nine points. But the last-minute bounce made Great Britain tournament winner and Italy will be promoted too as second-placed team.


“It’s an unbelievable feeling. I was looking to shoot for a rebound, a lucky bounce, and we won a gold medal, so it’s great! We kept battling, we have a lot of team spirit, we believe in ourselves as a group of people and that came through in the end,” Farmer said and is looking forward to next year in Slovakia. “We might never get the chance to do this again. What an opportunity for us to go and showcase ourselves!


After the 2-2 tie the rest of the game wouldn’t change anything anymore but Great Britain continued its party on the ice by eventually beating Hungary 3-2 in shootout with Ben O’Connor scoring the winning goal in the fifth round. Great Britain tried to get into the game for most of the time and outshot Hungary 43-33. Team GB won four out of five games but this was actually the only game the team had more shots on goal than its opponent.


“We just had an unbelievable tournament. We never say die. We had a great first period, absorbed the pressure and took it back to them. Anything can happen when you dream and that’s what was shown in this tournament,” said O’Connor, who was named Best Defenceman of the tournament. “We’re like a family, we pulled together, we’re all best friends. We worked together as a team and believed and it is possible. Back-to-back gold medals, when’s the last time that has ever been done?”


It was the fitting ending of a tournament that was full of drama, surprises and tight standings from the first to the last day, to the last game and the last minute. Five teams were still in run for promotion before the final day and four teams could still have made it before the last game’s result.


For Great Britain it will be a return to the top division after 24 years. And like in the ‘90s they made it from the third to the top tier with two consecutive promotions in two years.


“To win it with all these guys is unbelievable. It’s just literally indescribable. I can’t wait for next year! It’s gonna be busy but it’s gonna be fun!” said goalie Ben Bowns, who had another busy night with 31 saves.


While Great Britain and Italy will be promoted to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Slovakia, Kazakhstan had to settle for bronze before Hungary, Slovenia and Poland, which will be relegated. Earlier that day Italy won its game against Slovenia also in the last seconds of regulation time to get itself into this position.


In front of a loud and passionate sell-out crowd of 7,870 spectators Hungary had a perfect start on home ice at the Laszlo Papp Sportarena in Budapest also thanks to a tripping call against British goaltender Bowns. At 3:31 the Hungarian players covered him with shots and had several rebounds until Christopher Bodo eventually succeeded and beat Bowns for the 1-0 goal. The British had their chances too but didn’t manage to create enough danger to tie the game during the rest of the period.


In a scoreless second period Daniel Koger had the probably best chance for Hungary when Bowns deflected a shot with his glove. A bit later on the other side Adam Vay had to be sharp when Mark Richardson shot after a great pass from Mike Hammond.


A lucky bounce gave Hungary the 2-0 lead at 1:53 of the third period. Janos Hari brought the puck high to the crease where it hit Csanad Erdely’s shoulder and from there went in. The goal was confirmed after a video review.


The British still continued to work hard and when they were looking for a rebound, Robert Down eventually broke the spell and beat Adam Vay for the 2-1 goal with nine minutes left for GB to tie.


The British were pushing but the best chance was Hungary’s when Hari missed out on a penalty shot with four minutes left.


The Hungarians seemed to win it and to go up with Kazakhstan. But then, with 15.8 seconds left a nightmare broke out for the hosts. The British occupied their zone, had their time-out and their goalie pulled for a sixth skater. Farmer brought the puck from a sharp angle from the left side to the goal and surprised Vay. The puck slid down from his glove and slid between his legs across the goal line. It was 2-2. Now suddenly Great Britain would be tournament winner and take Italy as second-place team to the top division.


It was not over yet. Now Hungary took its time-out. With eight seconds left and after a glove block from Bowns the fans started to cheer after a rebound but the puck just came onto the net from outside. Great Britain won and the players and the “Barmy Army”, their loud fans on the tribune, celebrated loudly.


It was the start of the British party while the Hungarian fans chanted farewell to their visibly broken players with the traditional singing of the national anthem as they do even in defeat.


“We achieved the dream. I’m so happy for the players and the country. I don’t think we really know what has happened to us. [In the last period] we changed the approach a little bit, tried to push them back, threw pucks to the net. We had luck, 15 seconds to go and Farmer puts it between his feet. Dreams happen,” said head coach Peter Russell, the Scotsman who took over the national team three years ago.


The British went from one lucky streak to another during the tournament and never gave up even if a glimpse of hopelessness was in the air after two scoreless periods against Hungary. The tournament victory is especially impressive since the team doesn’t have many camps or tournament participations during the season due to the long club season. Something Russell doubts will change.


“We can’t do that with the Elite League. We have the seven-day camp and two games. We skated five days before we came here and played two games against Lithuania. I don’t see that changing because some Elite League guys play 90 games and after the playoff final they come straight to camp. We get used to. It’s fast track. But I don’t really know what’s going to happen next year,” Russell.


Something that will go on is having his team competing among the 16 best nations in the world at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship not far from here in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.


“That’s wild! It’s a crazy journey. Some guys on this team have been 15 years. When you work hard things can happen. It’s a great experience and everybody is looking forward to.”




Italy wins empty-net clash

Crazy game eliminates Slovenia last minute

With a tie not helping either team first Slovenia then Italy both pulled their goalie for a sixth skater. Diego Kostner scored the game-winner for Italy.


It was one of these curious moments in this tournament where all six teams are close and five teams remained in contention for promotion with two games left. Now only four teams are left as Italy beat Slovenia 4-3. Because only a regulation-time victory would help either team both pulled their goalies when it was 3-3 in the last minute to battle for the game-winner. Diego Kostner got it for Italy with 2.3 seconds left before the buzzer.


“We’re glad. It was a great team performance. When they pulled their goalie we wanted to try to score. It was a great game for us and now we have to wait and hope. There were chances on both sides and it was a good game from both teams with good goalies and the luck on our side,” Kostner said. “I hope we will be promoted. We can just hope but we can’t do anything.”


“We had an excellent performance in all game, maybe against not so good. Against Great Britain we would have deserved more but that’s hockey. Overall we showed a good tournament.”


While Slovenia missed promotion, Italy now has to hope for a favourable outcome in the last game. If Great Britain gets at least one point against Hungary, the British and Italy will go up to the top division. If Hungary beats Great Britain in regulation time, there will be a four-team tie for first place with Kazakhstan and Hungary earning promotion.


“It was an open game but we knew we needed three points and put everything in the third period and didn’t care whether we get one point or two points, we needed three. We had a lot of chances but unfortunately we didn’t score,” Slovenian defenceman Sabahudin Kovacevic said.


“This was a special game. Some day you win this kind of game and some time you lose but you have to respect the result. It’s unusual. Both teams needed three points and you needed to do something as a coach, both took the goalie out. We had our momentum in the game to score more goals but sometimes it’s like this,” said Slovenia head coach Kari Savolainen.


“For our team this tournament was a little difficult. The start was not the best possible but we came back. We got two victories and I respect the players and am grateful for the players, team staff and fans. Unfortunately we didn’t have luck today.”


For Italy it was the first win against Slovenes in 27 years. Since 2010 Slovenia has always been ranked before Italy whenever the teams played in the same division. Italy had never beaten Slovenia in men’s World Championship play. The best result was a 3-3 tie at the 2006 Worlds in Latvia. The last win dates back to times when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia and Italy won on the opponent’s soil in Ljubljana 13-3.


Italy had the luckier start into the game. When Bostjan Golicic was sent to the penalty box for holding in the first minute of play the Azzurri converted their first power play. Diego Kostner saw Markus Gander free on the left side, who one-timed the puck top-shelf for the opening marker at 1:39.


Slovenia made pressure but didn’t have luck with their shots until 17:11 when Matic Podlipnik was fortunate with his shot from the left boards that went through Marco de Filippo Roia’s five-hole to make it 1-1.


Slovenia got its first lead early in the second period during a power play. Jan Urbas sent a horizontal pass to the left side where Rok Ticar converted it with a top-shelf shot at 3:55. But also the lynx’s lead was only short-lived joy once Italy had its next power play. With the penalty almost expired, Michael Sullivan skated himself free on the right of the net and tied the game at two.


Of course that wasn’t enough for either team and in an open game it was the Italians who scored next after killing a penalty. Ivan Deluca on the left side skated around Aleksandar Magovac to skate to the crease. Gasper Kroselj blocked the shot but Alex Trivellato scored on the rebound.


The goal still didn’t define the direction of the gam as with 68 seconds left the Slovenes came back when Sabahudin Kovacevic sent off another hammer of a shot from the blueline – the third goal of the tournament for the defenceman.


Both teams had their scoring chances in the third period to with a shot advantage for Slovenia but Italy having a post shot with eight minutes left in regulation time.


Slovenia got its big chance when Italy’s Luca Felicetti lost a puck battle with Ken Ograjensek and was assessed a penalty for high-sticking. Slovenia took its time-out but had trouble setting up its power play.


The teams entered the last minute with a tie, which would finish the dream of promotion for both teams and send Kazakhstan up instead. The Slovenes were the first team to be brave enough and pull their goalie, then Italy pulled their goalie too in order to play 6-on-6!


The teams didn’t give each other anything and eventually the Italians had the puck in the last seconds of the game. While their goalie was on his way out to make room for a sixth skater, Diego Kostner scored the game-winner into the empty net with 2.3 seconds left on the game clock!


Slovenia has now missed out on promotion in Division I play for the first time since 2009 while the Italians will have to cheer on Great Britain in the last game.


“Both teams played well, Slovenia was probably better than us tonight and probably deserved the victory based on stats but that’s hockey, last night it was us who were unlucky. Both teams battled and showed character. It was very difficult to play Slovenia, they got stronger and stronger during the tournament and luck was on our side,” said Italy head coach Clayton Beddoes.


“This is one of the best tournaments I have seen Italy play. Possibly we could have won four out of five but it didn’t happen that way. It’s also about winning the right games and today was the right game for us.”


Kazakhstan hopes

Wins game and sends Poland down

Kazakhstan beat Poland 6-1 and can still hope for promotion depending on the other results. With the fourth loss in five games Poland is relegated.


After two disappointing losses, Kazakhstan keeps its hope for promotion alive thanks to a 6-1 victory against Poland that sends the Poles down to the Division I Group B.


Kazakhstan now has to hope it will be tied at nine points in a favourable fashion since it beat two direct opponents (Great Britain and Hungary) but lost against the other two promotion candidates (Italy and Slovenia). An overtime or shootout win by either team in the Slovenia-Italy game or a Hungarian win against Great Britain to create a three-team or four-team tie would benefit the Kazakhs.


“We had to win and we played a good game. The guys were fighting until the end,” said Roman Starchenko, who was Kazakhstan’s man of the match with four goals and an assist. “Now we don’t know what will happen. We have to hope for the best, we will watch the other games, it’s 50-50. If we go up it’s great, if we don’t go up it means were not good enough.”


The win also makes the scenarios for the other teams clearer. Great Britain will definitely need one point from the game against Hungary, otherwise they will drop to third of fourth place. Scenarios that see Great Britain promoted even in case of a regulation-time loss have been swiped out with Kazakhstan’s win.


Slovenia will need a regulation-time win against Italy to be promoted, anything else will not help anymore. Italy will also need a regulation-time win but at the same time needs to hope that Hungary won’t beat Great Britain in regulation time. Hungary needs a regulation-time against Great Britain but this will only lead to promotion if Slovenia doesn’t beat Italy in regulation time.


Poland cannot improve from sixth and last place anymore and will be relegated after four years in the Division I Group A.


Despite a KHL-starred roster Kazakhstan entered the last team not only as one of five teams who can theoretically get promoted but also as one of three teams that can be relegated following two straight losses. It was a must-win game for survival and a chance for promotion for Kazakhstan and it Poland was in need for a regulation-time win to avoid relegation.


The Kazakhs responded well to the pressure and showed their A-game with skill, pressure and punishing errors in the Polish defence. Alikhan Asetov missed out on a penalty shot when he was tripped by Damian Tomasik during a breakaway but in the next shift the Kazakhs opened the scoring at 12:20. Yevgeni Rymarev skated along the goal line and found Roman Starchenko in great position to score the 1-0 goal. One minute later the Kazakhs capitalized on a giveaway. Valeri Orekhov found Pavel Akolzin, who scored from the right face-off circle.


“It was a tough game despite the result. [Poland] plays technical hockey like us. We were nervous in the beginning but we scored first and that helped us a lot,” said Kazakh head coach Galym Mambetaliev.


“The teams at the tournament are at the same level. Everybody deserves to be in the top division. All the games have to be played from the first to the last second. Now we wait for the other results and will see.”


Although Poland kept up on paper, it was the Kazakhs whose chances were more dangerous. Early in the second period they converted their first power play to make it 3-0. Starchenko sent off a long shot from the left boards that beat Przemyslaw Odrobny through his five-hole.


Three minutes later it was the Kazakhs themselves who allowed a goal after a giveaway. Valeri Orekhov’s pass behind the own net jumped from Kirill Polokhov’s stick straight to Polish forward Krzysztof Zapala, who made it 3-1. Another situation behind the own net with Leonid Metalnikov being assessed a penalty for tripping gave the Poles further opportunities.


However, with 47.7 seconds left in the period and the Kazakhs on power play, Starchenko scored the 4-1 goal to bring his team one more step into the upper direction of the standings. And if that didn’t seal the win, then Ivan Kuchin’s goal at 6:03 of the third period did. Unguarded at the centre of the blueline, he took the opportunity to increase Kazakhstan’s lead to 5-1.


“I thought we played pretty well but unfortunately we couldn’t beat their goaltender. Their team just scored first, second, third on their chances. Every nation here is very well prepared and develops hockey, and in Poland we have to do the same thing. Before today there were 64 outcomes. There is a fine line between winning and losing,” said Poland’s head coach Ted Nolan.


The further away the Poles were from coming back in the third period, the less disciplined they acted. Krystian Dziubinski’s five-minute major penalty for spearing was just the start of a serious of penalties that kept the Polish penalty box busy for the remainder of the game. That allowed Starchenko to end his day with a fourth goal during a 5-on-3 and the final score of 6-1.




And here are the silver medallists, in true Italian fashion. You're looking good ragazzi! Congratulazione Italia! Italy together with tournament winner Great Britain is promoted to the 2019 Top Division WCh in Slovakia!



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