International Ice Hockey Federation

Slovenia bounces back

Slovenia bounces back

Host Korea suffers second loss

Published 21.04.2014 21:59 GMT+9 | Author Martin Merk
Slovenia bounces back
Slovenian forwards Jaka Ankerst and Tomaz Razingar try to score on Korean goalkeeper Hoseung Son. Photo: Kim Soohan
Slovenia bounced back from an opening day loss and earned its first tournament victory by blanking host Korea, 4-0.

Slovenia’s Asian Easter package continued against Korea after a 2-1 loss to Japan on Sunday but the players learned their lesson and this time they came out determined from the very beginning.

“We knew we had to play better than against Japan and we did,” Slovenian forward Miha Verlic said. “We played according to our game plan and scored the goals. It’s an important win for our future in this tournament.”

It was a lopsided start. Slovenia already had seven shots on goal before the Koreans recorded their first attempt at 8:50. Then came a Slovenian team penalty for too many players on the ice and another one against Ziga Pavlin for handling the puck with the hands and a third one against Jan Mursak for slashing. There were no discounts made and the penalties gave Korea a 5-on-3 for over two minutes followed by a one-man advantage. But the Slovenian defence stood strong and withheld the pressure.

However, the Slovenes didn’t have the same energy like in the beginning of the game. The only big scoring chance until the end of the period originated in a Korean giveaway in the neutral zone with a double-pass play of Jan Mursak and Blaz Gregorc on a two-on-one breakaway but Mursak missed the puck in front of the open net. And for the end of the period Bostjan Golicic was sent out for high-sticking Wooyoung Kim but Shanghoon Shin followed him later for interference.

Also early in the second period the Slovenes didn’t create the same kind of offence like in the beginning of the game but at 5:51 Jan Urbas broke the deadlock with his shot into the top-right corner after a diagonal pass during a Slovenian power play. And 57 seconds later Miha Verlic made it 2-0. Rok Leber got the puck at the end boards from Anze Kuralt, skated towards the net and sent a horizontal pass to Verlic, who scored into the wide open net.

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“It was a tough game for us because of the loss yesterday. The players were not relaxed and had to play against a host team that played well today,” Slovenian coach Matjaz Kopitar said.

“We will take this win and tomorrow is a day off and we will prepare for the next days. In tomorrow’s practice we want to eliminate some mistakes in our game and come back to track and win our next games.”

A cross-checking penalty against Marcel Rodman and 49 seconds later another one against Mitja Robar gave Korea the opportunity to fight back but like before the Korean power play units were unsuccessful. Despite 14 shots for each team in the period it was the Slovenes who had the more dangerous scoring chances and it was those which earned them the lead.

39 seconds into the third period the Slovenes destroyed any hopes for a Korean comeback at the Goyang Ice Rink with Ales Music’s 3-0 marker on his own rebound. With 54 seconds remaining and Korea on a power play, Jan Urbas scored the fourth goal into the empty net.

“The players worked hard today and gave it all. We worked hard and had a lot of chances but their goalie was unbelievable and made great saves,” Korea head coach Sun Wook Byun said. “I’m more satisfied with the team than I was yesterday. There are other games coming up and we have to prepare for those games.”

While the victory keeps Slovenia’s chances for promotion alive, the Koreans will have to battle hard in their three remaining game if they want to fulfill their goal of bettering last year’s fifth-place finish.


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