International Ice Hockey Federation

Poland wins neighbouring clash

Poland wins neighbouring clash

Host Ukraine remains winless after two games

Published 23.04.2017 23:52 GMT+3 | Author Martin Merk
Poland wins neighbouring clash
Photo: Andrey Basevich
On Day 2 of the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A, Poland got its first victory against Ukraine. The hosts remain winless.

The two teams delivered the 5,291 fans a tight battle in which Damian Kapica broke the deadlock with the 2-1 game-winner at 6:34 of the last period. Polish goalie Przemyslaw Odrobny made 37 saves and was selected as best player of his team.

“The third period was really tough for a goalie. I got a lot of shots onto the net. The first and second period we played very well on defence and in the neutral zone, I didn’t face too many shots. We’re so happy that we came back after losing the first game. It’s always hard to play the first game. I think this win will be a game changer for the next game. Everybody still believes that we have a chance to earn promotion,” Odrobny said.

“We are very, very happy that we won this game. It was really tight. It could have been a win for any team. Both goalies played really good,” added Poland’s assistant coach Torbjorn Johansson.

Four-and-a-half years ago the home crowd cheered on a 5-1 win for Ukraine in the Olympic Qualification campaign against Poland at the very same Palace of Sports in Kyiv and one year later Ukraine beat Poland 4-3 in a game on home ice in Donetsk for promotion to the Division I Group A.

This time it’s the other way around. Like at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A two years ago, when Poland won 3-2 in Krakow and Ukraine was relegated, Poland edged out its southeastern neighbour for another tight win that puts the hosts in a tough position.

“It’s very tough to lose. Our players played well but when it comes to scoring I’d wish a not so academic style of play in front of the net but just to score more. That’s our weak point,” said Ukrainian head coach Olexander Savitsky, who had to do without Artem Bondaryev, who suffered a knee injury. “We are waiting for more information from the doctors.”

The Ukrainians had a good first period but didn’t manage to score. At 3:46 Sergei Kuzmik intercepted a puck but his shot landed into the glove of Polish netminder Odrobny as did many other shots.

Poland did it better with four seconds left in the first period and on its first power play. Tomasz Malasinski scored after a pass from behind the net from Grzegorz Pasiut.

Ukraine wanted to come back in the second period but for a long time failed in front of the Polish net. But eventually the equalizer came, and it came late again. With Ukraine’s Dmytro Nimenko and Polish defenceman Mateusz Rompkowski screening the goalie a shot from Roman Blagy found its way between the two and into the Polish net to tie the game at one.

In the third period it was Kapica who scored the game-winning goal when he first deked defenceman Olexander Pobiedonostsev at the left face-off circle before scoring the much-sought-after goal from central position.

An opportunity to equalize knocked when Poland got two consecutive penalties midway the period and Ukraine head coach Savitsky took his time-out. But the host nation didn’t capitalize on its chances and once the power play was over had to play with one man less when Denys Isayenko was assessed a hooking penalty when he tried to prevent a Polish breakaway. Once it expired the Ukrainians had just three-and-a-half minutes left but didn’t find a way to score again.


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