International Ice Hockey Federation

Dawes double for Kazakhs

Dawes double for Kazakhs

Austria came back but Kazakhstan starts with win

Published 23.04.2017 01:07 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Dawes double for Kazakhs
Photo: Andrey Basevich
Kazakhstan started with a crucial win between recent top-division nations by edging Austria 3-2 on the opening day.

Austria recovered after losing the opening frame 2-0 after two goals from Nigel Dawes to tie the game in the second period but Vladimir Markelov scored Kazakhstan’s game winner in the third. Kazakhstan outshot Austria 32-24.

“The game was really complicated for us. Austria was very strong,” said Kazakhstan head coach Eduard Zankovets. “We felt this from the very beginning of the game. The first game is always a bit stressful for every player.”

Austria was the first team to net the puck after 53 seconds but Thomas Raffl influenced the play while standing in the goal crease and the game continued 0-0 until Nigel Dawes’ netted a pair of goals for Kazakhstan.

It was penalties that hurt Austria in the first period. And the third consecutive one was used by the Kazakhs. At 8:28 Dawes deked defenceman Martin Schumnig shooting the puck at the sideboard and then had the way to the goal free to beat Bernhard Starkbaum with a precise shot. Three minutes later the Austrians were lucky as a shot from Kazakhstan’s Vladimir Markelov just hit the post.

“They had more scoring chances than we had and deserved to win. It was a hard start for us because it was no goal in the first minute and we were assessed five penalties in the first period, that’s bad to start a game like that,” Austria head coach Roger Bader said.

At 14:53 Dawes again escaped from the Austrian defence and concluded the breakaway with a top-shelf shot to make it 2-0 for the Kazakhs.

“I had a couple of good chances and was able to capitalize on those. It was nice to get up early and get the legs going,” Dawes said. “It wasn’t an easy game. The first is always tough. They didn’t make it easy.”

The Austrians improved in the second period. At 4:32 Raffl was skating in a circle before letting go a shot that Konstantin Komarek deflected to cut Kazakhstan’s lead to 2-1. With two-and-a-half minutes left in the second period Raffl tied the game when he was in front of the net surrounded by opponents but still managed to score on his own rebound. It’s goals he called hard-worked goals.

“The team fought for 60 minutes. I think the only difference was the first period. We just slowly adapted to this level of play, took easy penalties like tripping and hooking and that gets punished by teams like this,” Raffl said. “We were shown what we have to do right at this tournament and in the next game we have the chance to make it better. We know now what we have to do better.”

Early in the third period the Kazakhs capitalized on their first power play. Roman Savchenko sent a shot from the blue line to the goal that Markelov deflected for the 3-2 marker. The Austrians had a couple of chances in their attempt to tie the game again but the Kazakhs defended the lead and got their first points as they’re hoping to get promoted back to the top division again.


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