International Ice Hockey Federation

Hungary wins opener

Hungary wins opener

Comeback effort vs. host Ukraine rewarded

Published 22.04.2017 18:38 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Hungary wins opener
Hungarian #27 WEHRS Kevin, #21 VAS Janos and #15 SARAUER Andrew celebrates their team-goal. Photo: Andrey Basevich
Top-seeded Hungary was close to lose its opening game against host and recently promoted Ukraine but came back with three third-period goals to earn a 5-3 win.

4,612 fans at the Palace of Sports saw an opening game with a lot of scoring opportunities on both sides but eventually it was Hungary which got the three points to the excitement of the Hungarian fan sector at the arena. Ukraine was close to an upset holding a 3-2 lead until midway the third period but Hungary, which outshot its opponent 51-24, eventually completed its comeback attempt late in the game.

While the second line created most of Hungary’s chances in the first two periods it was the first line with naturalized forwards Andrew Sarauer and Keegan Dansereau who scored the deciding goals.

“To play for Hungary and with this group of guys was a dream. I love the country and I’m happy to be part of this team,” said Dansereau, whose girlfriend is Hungarian. “The game was good, they came out hard, it was back and forth all game. I got the puck and buried it,” the Saskatoon-born forward said about the game and his game-winning goal.

“Unfortunately the other team was successful this time but we tried our best, the teams battled like soldiers,” commented Ukraine’s head coach Olexander Savitsky. “I told my players not to be afraid of strong competitors but we knew that the Hungarian team is a very strong team. We have to try to change something.”

Hungary had a good start and Vilmos Gallo the best possibility during a power play when at 4:32 he had several shots next to the crease but Eduard Zakharchenko blocked the attempts.

Ukraine wasn’t without chances either especially during its first power play. Nikita Butsenko had the biggest chance at 9:14 after a giveaway from Hungarian defenceman Bence Sziranyi but his shot hit the right goal post.

Later Hungary had again a great opportunity to open the scoring. Janos Hari passed to Janos Vas next to the crease but he didn’t manage to beat Zakharchenko, neither did linemate Gallo with another great opportunity from just in front of the net.

At 13:38 the puck went in on the other side to the joy of the local crowd at the Palace of Sports. With his bodycheck at the boards Dmytro Chernyshenko separated Hungary’s Balint Magosi from the puck in the offensive zone making the way free for Sergi Kuzmik who tried it with a wraparound. His high shot, deflected by a Hungarian defenceman, went exactly over Miklos Rajna’s shoulder for the 1-0 lead.

The Hungarians didn’t waste much time for a reaction. After 57 seconds the game was on par again. Csanad Erdely’s deflected shot from the left bounced back from the boards to Istvan Bartalis on the left side. He didn’t stand perfectly in front of the net and thus tried to score with his stick between his leg. This beauty of a goal sent the game into the first intermission tied at one.

Hungary also didn’t waist too much time going into the second period. Janos Vas gave Hungary the lead after just 20 seconds scoring on a rebound after a Bence Sziranyi shot.

The Hungarians tried to extend the lead in the middle frame but when Ukraine had a power play midway through the period the host nation tied the game up. Nikita Butsenko scored with a shot that went past Rajna’s glove. And with just over a minute left in the second period he even made it 3-2 when he and Vitali Lyalka battled their way towards the net and Butsenko scored to give Ukraine the lead again.

“The first game is always a difficult game to win and it was pretty obvious in the beginning. The team looked nervous and we made puck-possession mistakes. When we scored the 2-1 goal we unfortunately took three offensive-zone penalties in a row and allowed them to tie it up but the team showed character,” Hungary head coach Rich Chernomaz said.

Hungary eventually managed its comeback attempt thanks to two goals within a span of over two minutes midway the third period. At 10:41 Andrew Sarauer was fed in free position on the left side with a horizontal pass by Kevin Wehrs and scored via Zakharchenko’s pads. And at 12:53 Keegan Dansereau gave Hungary the lead. Zakharchenko had blocked two shots from Dansereau’s teammates but third time was a charm for Hungary.

“It was a tough game from the start. We came out a little bit shaky but in the end we were right there. They had some lucky bounces, they scored on our mistakes but we corrected those and became stronger and scored in good timing. Our group did a great job, we stayed positive at the bench even when it was 3-2 for them,” Vas said.

This time Hungary managed to defend the lead and a penalty against Dmytro Nimenko in the last minute didn’t help the host team either. Janos Hari made it 5-3 with a shot into the empty net with seven seconds to go.


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