International Ice Hockey Federation

Narrow goal, narrow win

Narrow goal, narrow win

Ukraine surprises but Austria scores in overtime

Published 20.04.2014 15:14 GMT+9 | Author Martin Merk
Narrow goal, narrow win
Austria's Dominique Heinrich, who scored two goals, with a scoring chance in front of Ukrainian goalkeeper Sergi Gaiduchenko. Photo: Kim Suhuan
Austria started into the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A with a 3-2 overtime win against Ukraine.

It wasn’t a beauty of an overtime goal that decided the game but the puck went in. An Austrian shot bounced back from the end boards and Brian Lebler tried to put it in between goalie Sergi Gaiduchenko and the goal post with lot of traffic to prevent that. The refs were first not sure whether it was a goal or not because it was hard to see whether the puck crossed the line and whether it did before or after the goal was dislocated. Tenths of seconds decided and after getting the pictures from the overhead camera the officials were sure, Austria celebrated and Ukraine’s chance for an early upset in this tournament was missed.

“I was 95 per cent sure it went in,” Lebler said. “It was pretty dramatic. We were fortunate enough to get a power play and that the puck went in.”

Everybody who expected Austria against Ukraine to be a lopsided affaire because of the seeding, because of the fact that Austria made it to the Olympics and every two years to the Worlds’ top division, or because Austria has been ranked better than Ukraine every year since 2007 – when both were relegated at the Worlds in Moscow – found themselves watch a pleasantly tight game.

Second-seeded Austria had the expected better start into the game and had more puck possession. Dominique Heinrich capitalized on the first power-play opportunity to open the scoring with his shot from the blueline at 9:48.

However, the Ukrainians didn’t need much time to react thanks to a giveaway behind the Austrian net co-produced by goalkeeper Bernhard Starkbaum and defenceman Mario Altmann. The Ukrainians capitalized on the misunderstanding and Andri Mikhnov passed from the end boards to Roman Blagy, who found the net 16 seconds after the Austrian goal.

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The first period remained an open contest and Matthias Iberer had a chance to tie just 40 seconds later in front of Gaiduchenko, who made the save in a critical moment. However, two minutes later the Austrians had another man advantage and again Heinrich on the ice. And he scored again, this time from the outer face-off circle, after a horizontal pass from Lebler at 12:29.

Heinrich isn’t too cocky about being the scoring leader of the tournament after one game. “I had a good game but it was my teammates who helped and did a great job,” he said.

“We had a good start into the game. We wanted to avoid a bad start into the tournament but Ukraine came back into the game. We have to take care that we don’t take too many penalties at this level.”

Maxym Kvitchenko and Oleg Tymchenko were among the players who put pressure on the Austrian net with their chances and power plays in the second period when the Ukrainians played their best game. Eventually, at 12:48 of the middle frame, the efforts were rewarded when Olexander Materukhin hit the back of the net with a shot from near the face-off dot into the top-right circle during a power play.

The game remained open and entertaining and after a scoreless third period overtime was needed. Austria had the upper hand enjoying a power-play during the extra frame because the Ukrainians had too men on the ice and was pushing for the game winner. One time they pushed so hard at a Lebler shot from a short distance after bouncing back from the end boards that the officials that the goal was dislocated but the video review revealed that the puck was in and that the Austrians started with a win.


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