International Ice Hockey Federation

Austria wins battle

Austria wins battle

One goal vs. Ukraine, four injuries

Published 26.04.2017 00:09 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Austria wins battle
Photo: Andrey Basevich
Ukraine delivered Austria a tough battle but the “eagles” won 1-0. By the end of the game four players from both teams were missing due to injuries.

“It was a tough game, it was just one goal. We lost Thomas Raffl after he blocked a shot in the last game and Layne Viveiros, during the game we lost Stefan Ulmer. In the end we just had 17 players, that’s very special,” said Austria coach Roger Bader. Raffl tried to play but had to give up the plan after the warm-up.

Also the Ukrainian coach had to react during the game as Yuri Petrangovsky left the game due to an old groin injury and is not likely to return as the team announced.

Austria needed a win in order to stay in the race for promotion and to avoid a relegation battle while winless Ukraine needed to win in order to survive in this group.

The favourites had a better start and a lot of power plays. Ukraine took six minor penalties in the period, Austria two.

“The emotions were quite difficult in the beginning. Many of the penalties were silly and careless. The absence of calmness and decisiveness in the crucial moments was missing. The opponent was quite active and didn’t allow us to create many opportunities,” said Ukrainian assistant coach Dmytro Pidgursky.

Austria outshot Ukraine 20-5 in the first period but didn’t capitalize on its many chances while Eduard Zakharchenko had a strong night in the Ukrainian net.

“Yesterday we had a great power play against Hungary, today it was not successful. Normally if you have that many shots you should score goals but the Ukrainian box play and the goalie were very good,” Bader said.

Ukraine didn’t manage to create too many opportunities but with Zakharchenko keeping his team in the game, the possibility was always there to score an upset, or at least a goal. They came out stronger in the second period and had some opportunities. Like at 12:59 when Sergi Babynets’ shot just hit the crossbar.

Three minutes later the Austrians eventually netted the puck on a power play, their seventh of the game. Martin Schumnig shot from the blue line and the puck went in deflected by Daniel Woger.

“We started strong but we didn’t capitalize on our chances despite playing 5-on-3 for over two minutes twice in the first period. But we stayed patient. The Ukrainians put us under pressure for a couple of minutes in the second period but we defended well and were lucky enough to score a power-play goal and defended the lead until the very end,” said Schumnig.

“We could have won higher if we had converted the countless of shots but we also have to thank Bernhard [Starkbaum], who did great goaltending and saved us from a loss or tie.”

With that goal the game was still far from over. Ukraine created more scoring opportunities in the third period. Vitali Lyalka had the biggest chance on a breakaway attempt at 4:40 but Schumnig prevented him from shooting.

With the win Austria moved up to second place with six points from two games and seems to be safe from the relegation battle while being enabled to dream of higher ambitions. The next opponent is Korea on Thursday.

“We will have a big game against Korea. We saw them last year and we played them in November. We saw how they have improved, so we are not surprised that they play so well here,” said Bader.

Ukraine on the other hand sits on the bottom of the standings with zero points. If the hosts don’t gain points in tomorrow night’s game against Kazakhstan, the last place and relegation will be their fate even before the last round on Friday.

“The chances are always there and our attitude is always to battle for victory even if we have to die on the ice,” Petrangovsky puts it martially before tomorrow’s game.


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