International Ice Hockey Federation

Kazakhstan in, Ukraine down

Kazakhstan in, Ukraine down

Last-period goals seal win for favourites

Published 26.04.2017 23:53 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Kazakhstan in, Ukraine down
Photo: Andrey Basevich
Kazakhstan beat Ukraine 4-2 to remain in race for promotion while the fourth loss for the hosts means it will be relegated back to the Division I Group B.

Kazakhstan improved its record to 3-1 to remain in contention for a top-two spot and continue its ambition to return to the top division.

Ukraine needed at least one point to keep hopes alive to stay in this group. The team battled hard and came back from a 2-0 deficit but Kazakhstan was too strong, outshot the Ukrainians 47-22 and eventually got the expected win after two third-period goals.

Nigel Dawes gave Kazakhstan the lead after just three-and-a-half minutes when he redirected a shot from the blue line by Maxim Semyonov through Bodgan Dyachenko’s five-hole.

The 18-year-old goaltender who led HC Donbass to the Ukrainian championship recently got a rough start in his debut but eventually made 43 saves and had a 91.49% save percentage in his debut in an IIHF men’s championship.

“We trusted in him from the beginning and he became more confident with every save,” said Ukraine’s assistant coach Pavlo Mikhonik.

The Ukrainians got hope when Kazakhstan took three consecutive penalties during the rest of the period but it didn’t result in more than a post shot. With one second left in the period Martin St-Pierre made it a two-goal gap after a pass from behind the net from Brandon Bochenski.

“We haven’t had any easy games here. We got the win and we’re back on track, that’s what we needed in the end,” said Bochenski, who contributed three points to the 4-2 win. “They were smart. They played good defensively and were waiting for counter-attacks and scored on their chances. That’s how to play if I was them.”

At 14:24 of the second period Dmytro Nimenko eventually made the home crowd cheer when he concluded a successful Ukrainian attack after a side pass in front of the net from Olexander Pobiedonostsev to make it a 2-1 deficit. And it took less than a minute and the game was tied at two. Sergei Babynets got the puck on the left side, skated and got little opposition from Kazakh defenceman Alexander Lipin to be able to shoot and score.

“We had more chances but when we were up 2-0 our players played risky. The Ukrainian team was quite active until the end,” said Kazakhstan coach Eduard Zankovets, who took his time-out after the 2-2 goal.

Kazakhstan made up for the blackout early in the third period. At 1:59 Nikita Mikhailis skated through the Ukrainian defence after a great pass from Roman Starchenko to regain his team the lead. And Bochenski made it 4-2 with his shot from the face-off dot on a power play with three minutes left in the game.

“We became more confident in the second period but the Canadian players on the Kazakh team are much stronger than our players,” said Mikhonik.


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