International Ice Hockey Federation

Late luck for Kazakhstan

Late luck for Kazakhstan

Host Hungary opens Div. IA with loss

Published 15.08.2018 07:31 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Late luck for Kazakhstan
Erdely csanad Photo: László Mudra - HIIHF
Kazakhstan started the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A with a win thanks to three unanswered third-period goals against Hungary.

18-year-old rookie defenceman Valeri Orekhov scored the game-winning goal early in the third period that broke Hungary and led Kazakhstan to a 3-0 victory. Yevgeni Rymarev scored the other two goals while Swedish-born goaltender Henrik Karlsson had a 28-save shutout in his debut as a Kazakh in IIHF play.

“It was a tight game. They have a lot of fans and played well for the first two periods. Then we had a goal and kept on building on the momentum after that. They played well and are a good team. Every team is good at this tournament. We had a lot of power plays and they had a lot of power plays. That’s your chance to get a bit of an advantage. We didn’t use ours first but then got a goal. We have to work on executing it better then we will get a lot of shots,” Kazakhstan defenceman Kevin Dallman said after the game and had praise for his goalie Karlsson.

“He’s a machine. He’s a good goalie, very professional. He’s big in the net and is going to help us a lot. Their goalie played well too.”

Hungary and Kazakhstan shared some recent history. They were both relegated at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Russia and one year later neither team managed to get back up to the top level when playing the Division I Group A in Kyiv, Ukraine. So here they meet again at the same level, one year after the Kazakhs had won 3-1 on the last day to get Division I Group A bronze.

Wins by Kazakhstan used to be normal in this clash for a long time until one evening five years ago here at the Laszlo Papp Sportarena in Budapest. Viktor Tokaji scored the game winner in a 2-1 victory for Hungary, its first ever against Kazakhstan after five previous losses. It eventually didn’t help as Kazakhstan ended up earning promotion but it helped Hungary’s self-esteem and its goal to become a more regular top-level participant. Eventually the Magyars made it two years later.

Back in Budapest before 7,170 fans, the hosts had their chances to win again. Kazakhstan started with two straight penalties and Hungary outshot their opponent 11-8 in the first and 12-7 in the second period without seeing the puck in the net.

With 2:31 left in the second period the Hungarian fans hoped the spell was broken during a power play but Kazakhstan’s “Swedish Wall” Henrik Karlsson stopped the puck before the blue line.

Eventually the third period brought change. Maybe it was the “Kalinka” song that was played before the face-off, or just destiny, luck or simply a laser of a shot. Valeri Orekhov was the man whose shot from the blueline went into the top-right corner and made the Hungarians stun of disbelief.

It was his first goal in his first game for the Kazakh men’s national team in an IIHF event for the 18-year-old defenceman who played his first KHL season in the Barys Astana season.

“We knew it’s going to be a tough game. Hungary is a fast team, is strong at backchecking. All the guys were well prepared. In the third period we scored a goal which helped as a lot because the Hungarian team started to play more offensively and we were patient, had no other penalties and scored,” said Kazakh head coach Galym Mambetaliev.

Now it was on Hungary to react but a counter-attack made hopes for a win even less realistic. Roman Starchenko found Yevgeni Rymarev at the blueline, who beat Hungarian goalie Adam Vay on his breakaway to make it 2-0 just 57 seconds after the first goal.

“It was a solid game from Kazakhstan. It was a tough game to play and a tough team to play against. They did a great third period and probably that was the difference tonight,” Hungary head coach Jarmo Tolvanen said. “We created chances to score goals during all the game but if you don’t score goals you don’t win. The downside is that we took seven minor penalties and that for sure is too many, especially in the third period we got three of them.”

It was a when-it-rains-it-pours period for Hungary as the hosts didn’t get a chance to find back into the game. One minute after the second goal Arnold Varga got a penalty for tripping and just before it expired Rymarev scored his second goal.

“Momentum is big in hockey and they took advantage of our mistakes,” Hungary’s Andrew Sarauer said. “It’s a disappointing loss but it’s a short tournament. Tomorrow is a new day and we face a must-win. We have to get points tomorrow.”

The fans didn’t stop cheering on their team but as the minutes counted down it became clear that Kazakhstan would open with a win.


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