International Ice Hockey Federation

Hari brings Hungary back

Hari brings Hungary back

Hosts can still dream of promotion

Published 26.04.2018 22:31 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Hari brings Hungary back
Andras Benk and Krisztian Nagy celebrate a first-period goal of Hungary. Photo: Laszlo Mudra
In a clash between two teams from the bottom half of the standings, host Hungary got a 3-2 win against Poland thanks to Janos Hari’s third-period game winner.

That makes it now four teams tied at six points, although Kazakhstan, Italy and Great Britain have one game less before the fourth round of games will conclude tomorrow with Kazakhstan vs. Slovenia and Italy vs. Great Britain. That means Hungary can still silently dream of promotion.

The Hungarians, until now slow starters at this even, had the better beginning and were two goals ahead after the first period but Poland tied it in the second period. The game winner came 30 seconds into the third period when Janos Hari’s pass was deflected into the net by a skate for what turned out to become the game-winning goal.

“It wasn’t a nice goal but it’s always nice to score. I was going to pass backdoor for an empty net for Sebok but it bounced from the skate. If it went through it would have been a goal for Sebok anyway,” Hari said about the game-winner.

“I think we were the better team overall. We played good in the first, then I don’t know what happened in the second. It’s typical for hockey when you’re up in the first and it goes easy you take a step back and let them into the game. We are the better team and are supposed to win but they made it a tough game tonight.”

Already after 64 seconds the home team opened the scoring. With Krzysztof Zapala in the penalty box for hooking, Balazs Sebok scored on his own rebound. And that wasn’t all. The Hungarians made a more dangerous impression in the offence and ended a quick attack with another goal on a rebound. After a blocked shot from Balint Magosi the puck was loose and Andras Benk reacted the fastest scoring from a short angle on the left side into the empty net.

“Finally we got a good start. That’s been our problem so far and now we got it. I think it helped us even if Poland came back really strong in the second. The third period was a huge battle in which anything could happen and this time we were lucky,” Hungary head coach Jarmo Tolvanen said. “I don’t know what our chances are to get to the top-two but we say always we play one game at a time.”

The Poles came out stronger for the second period and also goal number three was on a rebound. Filip Komorski was right in front of Hungarian goaltender Adam Vay after a blocked shot and cut the deficit to 2-1. And seven minutes later it was Aron Chmielewski’s time to shine. He entered the Hungarian zone, skated around Zsombor Garat and beat Vay with a high shot for the 2-2 goal.

“Hungary looked like at a totally different level in the first period. We came back in the second period. It was like in a boxing match. In the end they had a lucky bounce but if you work hard you are lucky,” Poland head coach Ted Nolan said. “Poland has to come far to play at this level and there’s some cultural changes needed to get to the next level.”

One period for Hungary, one for Poland. What would the third frame bring? In case anybody was not ready, Hari was there to give the wake-up call. Skating back from behind the Polish net, Hari sent a pass from an acute angle that was intended for Balasz Sebok. It turned out to become the first shot and the first goal of the period as it was deflected by a skate in front of Polish goalie Przemyslaw Odrobny.

Although Poland was in need for a goal, they didn’t manage to produce the same kind of firepower as in the middle frame. Hungary outshot Poland 36-34 throughout the game and almost scored a fourth goal into the empty net but the final buzzer sounded and the win entered the books with a 3-2 score.

Hungary will have a day of rest before playing Great Britain on the last day while Poland’s game against Kazakhstan on Saturday will be for survival for the Poles.

Whether Istvan Sofron, who was sidelined tonight with a shoulder injury, will return remains a day-to-day decision. “He has 50-50 chances to play on Saturday,” coach Tolvanen said.

 

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