World Championships - Qualifying and Relegation Rounds

Friday, 12th May 2006

Six games on Friday in Latvia, starting with the relegation round games between Slovenia and Denmark and Italy v Kazakhstan. Difficult to predict , however sticking my head above the parapet again I would expect Slovenia and Italy to win these ones.


An early penalty on Slovenia for too many man resulted in the first goal of the game for Denmark. Kjaergaard passed along the blue to Neilsen who flung a shot into the mix and Morten Dahlmann got a tip past the goalie, timed at 1.38. 8.43 and another powerplay goal for Denmark. Kim Staal firing the puck home after good work by Morten Green. 2-0 Denmark and Slovenia have not turned up yet. End of the first and its 2-0 to Denmark. Slovenia are so poor its unbelievable .They have only had 3 shots on goal in a first period totally dominated by the Danes.

I reckon Vyborny the Slovenian coach must have taken a leaf out of Alex Ferguson’s books at the break and threw some teacups around. Slovenia came out strong and got a goal back at 24:50 when Tomaz Razingar got a stick on a loose puck in front of goal to make it 2-1. Then all the hard work went out of the window as a Slovenian defender fanned on the puck on his own blue line letting Kim Staal in on the goalie, the defender recovered and hooked him just as he was about to shoot. Penalty shot and Staal went left, committed the goalie and shot high into the net. Timed at
25:12. Great chance for Slovenia after 15:00 when the Rodmans broke free and had a two on one. Denis Rodman on the right put in a great shot, well saved by Peter Hirsch. End of the second and its 3-1 to Denmark. Good second period with both teams going for it. Slovenia will start the third with a full 2 minute powerplay.

Blistering start to the period. Slovenia on the powerplay, Marcel Rodman skated round behind the goal. Hirsch skated to meet him and Rodman passed the puck back to the blue line. Hirsch tried to scramble back and tripped over a defender. Kranjc one timed the puck from the blue line high into empty net. 3-2 Denmark at 40:23. Brilliant end to end third period with Slovenia having the upper hand. Both goalies in great form.
Slovenia equalise on 57:59. Great skate from the blue line by Anze Kopitar who then back handed the puck from behind the goal. Mitja Sotlar pounced on the puck and one timed an unstoppable shot past Hirch. One more chance for Denmark to win the game at 59:30 but Kristan in goal was up to it and made a scrambling save. End of the game 3-3, one of the best games of the tournament and a draw was about right.


Early goal for Italy on the powerplay at 5:30. Scored by Joe Busillo, ex Manchester Storm, assisted by Borgatello and Molteni. End of the period and its 1-0 to Italy. No live coverage on this one. Kazakhstan have taken 5 minor penalties in the period and the shot count is 11-10 to Italy.

Not much more to report in the second. However Kazakhstan equalisedon the powerplay on 28:24 with a goal from Samokhvalov assisted by Litvinenko. Kazakhstan take the lead on 33:35 unsurprisingly on the powerplay. Goal scored by Zhailauov assisted by Koreshkov and Argokov. A great second period by Kazakhstan, they seem to have worked out this zero tolerance malarkey and did not take a single penalty. They outshot the Italians 21-7 in this period and take a 2-1 lead into the third.

Italy equalised early in the second at 44:55 when Busillo got his and Italy’s second goal of the game. Assist by Armin Helfer. With ten minutes of the game remaining Italy took the lead. Goal by Armin Helfer assisted by Jason Cirone, timed at 50:16. Kazakhstan peppered the Italian goal for the last 10 mins but their indiscipline reared its head again and Zhailauov picked up a 2 plus 10 for checking from behind. Italy held out for an invaluable 3-2 win in their quest to remain in the A pool

Two hours till the next two games, this time in the qualifying round.
Czech Republic take on Norway and Switzerland play Slovakia.


Balastik should have put Czech Republic ahead after 5 mins when he had an open goal after a superb passs from Kaberle.
Hansen puts Norway ahead after 12:21 with a powerplay goal assisted by Skroder and Ask. Ask put a shot in on goal and it was deflected past a totally screened Hnlicka by Hansen. End of the period and 1-0 to Norway and this shock score is fully deserved as the Norwegians take the game to the World Champions.

The Czechs equalised after 27:21 with a goal from Jan Hlavac assisted by Skoula and Richter. Fine play along the blue by Skoula found Hlavac on left point and he hammered the puck home. Czech Republic were increasing the pace of the game but Norway were always dangerous on the break. The Champions got the go ahead goal after 38.31. Richter at centre point pushed the puck goalwards and it was tipped past Gunderson by Balastik. End of the period and 2-1 to Czech Republic.

Third period saw Czech republic press on the Norwegians for most of the period but had only one goal to show for it. On 58:56 Hnlicka drove the puck out and Peter Tenkrat scored to make it 3-1. Final score and a deserved win for the champions who are yet to fire on all cylinders.


Five minutes gone in a must win game for Slovakia and its Switzerland who have the best of the early chances. Even game without too many chances. Slovakia took the lead on 14:18 with a complete fluke. Cibak, behind the goal just hit the puck back into the mix and it cannoned off two Swiss defenders and through the legs of Aebischer. End of the 1st 1-0 to Slovakia in a disappointing first period.

End to end play in the first 10 mins of the second period and just after that the Slovaks should have gone further ahead as Cibak fanned in front of goal. They did get a vital second goal after 31:33 on the powerplay when Dusan Milo blasted the puck from left point past Aebischer. Pavlikovsky and Surovy got the assists. With 6 mins remaining in the period, the Swiss survived a 3 on 5 as the Slovaks increased the pressure.
End of the period and the Slovaks are 2-0 up and look comfortable.

A fairly even start to the third with Switzerland chasing the game. Switzerland pulled a goal back on 29:50 when Reichert took a pass from behind the goal by Pluss and fired the puck home from the top of the crease. It was all Switzerland now as Slovakia seemed to get the jitters. Even a 5 minute penalty kill as Deruns went to the box for elbowing did not keep the Swiss at bay. It was 4 on 4 at 58:04 when the Swiss got a deserved equaliser. Bezina passed from behind the goal line to Jeannin at the top of the crease to tap the puck past Krizan for the game tying goal.
That was all the scoring and a 2-2 draw was just about right.


Finland crushed USA with 4 unanswered goals tonight with an awesome powerful display. USA missed a penalty shot on 2:21 but that was as close as they were to get as they were totally outclassed by an impressive Finnish side. Goals from Koivu in the first, Bergenheim and Nummelin in the second and Kukkonen in the third gave Finland a 4-0 win and almost certain qualification for the next round.


This game was over after 1 period as Sweden overpowered Ukraine with 4 goals. Marks from Nylander, Nordquist, Johansson and Hallberg made it 4-0 at the end of the first. No scoring in the second which was littered with 20 mins of minor penalties. Zadelenov scored a consolation for Ukraine in the 3rd but Sweden ran out easy winners.  Final score Sweden 4 Ukraine 1

Saturday sees relegation round games between Kazakhstan and Slovenia, Kazakhstan will be relegated if they lose, and Italy v Denmark with the winner almost assured of being in Pool A next season. Evening games are USA v Latvia, whoever wins this should make the quarters with the loser out of the competition and Belarus v Ukraine.


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