International Ice Hockey Federation

Kazakhstan wins and hopes

Early goals lead to victory vs. Hungary

Published 28.04.2017 18:33 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Kazakhstan wins and hopes
Photo: Andrey Basevich
Kazakhstan edged Hungary 3-1 and can earn promotion if it won’t be overtaken later today.

Even though Kazakhstan was favoured and was playing for promotion while Hungary was left battling for honour, the game was anything but one-sided. Kazakhstan got up 2-0 early and managed to defend the lead.

“This game was quite intense. We had to play until the last second to win this game. The teams were quite equal until the end. It was a nice game for the fans,” Kazakhstan head coach Eduard Zankovets said.

Kazakhstan now must hope that Poland beats Austria in the second game. Or if Austria wins in regulation time, Kazakhstan must hope that Korea loses to Ukraine. Or if Austria wins in overtime or shootout, Kazakhstan must hope that either Korea loses the game or wins it in regulation time, otherwise a three-team tie with Austria, Korea and Kazakhstan would occur with Austria and Korea as promoted teams.

“It was a tough game we had to win. It was a hard-fought win, Hungary gave us everything we could handle,” said scoring leader Nigel Dawes. “Now we have to sit and watch. We obviously had some stumbles. We’re not in a position we wanted to be right now.”

The Kazakhs laid the foundation for the win with goals early in the game while they were outshot by Hungary 32-27 throughout the game.

At 2:48 Kevin Dallman gave the team the lead with his precise slap shot from the blue line.

Eight minutes later Nikita Mikhailis was left unnoticed near the offensive blue line when he got a pass from Anton Sagadeyev to extend the lead.

It was a bad start for the Hungarians, who played for the honour despite not being able to move from their fifth place. But the Hungarians didn’t give up and competed well.

Eventually they were rewarded late in the first period. On a 4-on-3 power play Kalvin Sagert brought Hungary back in the game when he hammered in a shot from behind the right face-off circle.

After that the goalies Miklos Rajna and Vitali Kolesnik kept their net clean for the rest of the game.

With 2:25 left and a penalty call against Kazakh defenceman Kirill Polokhov, Hungary took the time-out for the last chances to tie the game but it didn’t work out. With 13 seconds remaining in regulation time Dawes scored the 3-1 goal into the empty net.

While Kazakhstan can still hope for promotion, the Hungarian fans celebrated the team singing the national anthem once the official post-game ceremony was over.

“We have the most dedicated and wild fans in the world,” Hungary head coach Rick Chernomaz said.

“For a meaningless game at our part I was very satisfied the way we played. Even though we were not successful at the tournament this year we had the youngest team here and that’s probably the reason why. The biggest differences during the tournament were good goalie performances of the opponent and the power plays, there we were unsuccessful. “