Three key points for Croatia

Three key points for Croatia

Davide Tuniz25 Apr 2018Davide Tuniz»

With a perfect first period and despite a brave comeback by Ukraine, Croatia earns first three points at World Championship in Kaunas


After the unexpected defeat against Estonia in the last game, Ukraine looking for three points against still pointless Croatia to avoid being involved in the battle to survive in the Division. Croats for their part played very well against Lithuania and Japan but coming out from the ice with many compliments but no points.

In a Zalgiris arena where ice replaced the basketball court during the night after the Euroleague game, Ukraine begins better the game, showing more aggression, in the game and in the charges paying the price for this style at the first penalty, with Toltushko in the box, Croatia plays a very good power play with precise passes allowing Ivan Jankovic to beat Sergi Gaiduchenko with a precise shot from the angle at 04:36. The goal inspirit Croatia that with two fast counterattacks scored two more goals just over a minute: at 11:51 with Tom Zanoski shorthanded, stealing a puck in the neutral zone and at 13:06 with Dominik Kanaet, feinting to pass in the centre and beating Gaiduchenko in the top corner. The punch is terrible for Ukraine, forced to replace the goalie, with Bogdan Dyachenko in the net, but unable to react.

A double penalty for Andrei Mikhnov and Vladislav Gavrik leave Ukraine with two men down at the begin of second period with Dyachenko saving his team with a couple of difficult saves. The game continuing tense with penalties for both team, including a reckless intervention of Tomljenovic to stop Boikov originating a penalty shot stopped by same Tomljenovic at 31:01. The last part of period is more favourable to Ukraine even if Tomljenovic has just a difficult save at minute 34 on Vitali Lyalka. The last period sees Croatia controlling the game in the first part, with a couple of chances with Blagus and Zanoski, while Ukraine has its best opportunity with Lyalka: his shot rings on the post of Tomljenovic. At 46:56 on power play Kirill Katrich scores the first goal for Ukraine with a long-range shot. The episode gives yellow-blue team new energy and and the strength of scoring the second goal at 53:00 with Dmitri Nimenko finishing a beautiful move by Andrei Mikhnov behind the cage. Despite a desperate assault in the final minutes, pulling the goalie, Ukraine doesn’t find the third goal, suffering an empty net 4th point scored by Domen Vedlin with 2 seconds remaining.

Croatia earns three capital pointsin the race to avoid relegation, while with 2 defeats in three games Ukraine can say goodbye to the dream of a quick return in Division Ia

Ivan Jankovic shows all the optimism after the game: "It's the first time we beat Ukraine and it's a great result for us, it means a lot for all the guys. We are now even more positive for the survival in the Division and Friday the game with Estonia can seal our mission"

MVP: Bogdan Dyachenko – Tom Zanoski

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