International Ice Hockey Federation

Slovenia ready for final day

Slovenia ready for final day

Ukraine out of promotion race after 5-3 loss

Published 24.04.2014 16:06 GMT+9 | Author Martin Merk
Slovenia ready for final day
The Slovenes celebrate a goal in their 5-3 win against Ukraine to set up a final with Austria. Photo: Soohan Kim
Slovenia kept it hopes for promotion alive and defeated Ukraine 5-3 before its final game against undefeated Austria on Saturday.

Slovenia dominated the beginning but Ukraine came back with three power-play goals.

“Ukraine didn’t give up, they kept pushing. We have to give them credit for their power play which is really good. We have to play better on the penalty kill and get less penalties,” said Bostjan Golicic.

It was a lopsided start for his team. Slovenia dictated the play in the first period and it never looked like they would lose the game after a 2-0 first-period lead with a 15-4 shot-on-goal advantage.

The Slovenes opened the scoring at 12:12. Anze Kuralt kept the Ukrainian defence busy on the right side and passed to Miha Stebih, who went unnoticed on the left side and beat Sergi Gaiduchenko for the opening goal.

A few minutes after the goal Ukraine got its first power play but the biggest chance came after Olexander Materukhin’s giveaway. Jan Mursak, too fast for the Ukrainian defence, left for a breakaway but didn’t bring the puck past Gaiduchenko.

The Slovenes continued to put pressure on the Ukrainian net. Ziga Pance missed one opportunity when he was blocked from converting a centering pass but Jan Urbas had more luck at 18:09 when he skated toward the net and sent off a perfect shot into the top-right corner.

The second period started like the opening frame. The Slovenian pace was too much for the yellow-and-blue team that was assessed two penalties after less than three minutes of play. But then Ales Music missed the puck during a shot and hit an opponent. The Ukrainians capitalized on the high-sticking penalty when Andri Mikhnov deflected Yuri Navarenko’s shot from the blueline at 6:57.

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That renewed Ukraine’s hope to get back into the game making the team more pro-active. At 18:57 they eventually capitalized on their next power play. Denys Petrukhno’s shot from the face-off circle went into the top-right corner after Materukhin’s pass from behind the net to relaunch the game with two goals each.

Ukraine had a great start into the third period with Yevgen Belukhin’s power-play goal at 2:13 but Slovenia reacted just half a minute later with Ales Music scoring on a rebound. Four minutes later Slovenia was on the power play and Jan Mursak beat Gaiduchenko with a wrist shot through the Ukrainian netminder’s five-hole to regain the lead.

At 17:04 Bostjan Golicic’s goal after Anze Kuralt had conquered the puck on a giveaway made it 5-3 and sealed the win to set up a possible final for first place with Austria. The Austrians have been undefeated in three games and can in the best case already earn promotion today while Ukraine is out of contention for promotion and will end the tournament between third and fifth place.

“The promotion is our goal,” Golicic said. “We showed after the first game that we have character and we bounced back.”


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