World Championships 2007 Day Five

Wednesday, 2nd May 2007

Today's games will see relegation places and group leadership decided in Groups B and D.

Group B


An entertaining game in the Mytischi arena as Belarus took advantage of some poor goaltending and dreadful line changes to send Austria into the relegation round.

Belarus took the lead on 3:06 on the powerplay as Hlebau belted a shot from the point through traffic to score past Divis. End to end stuff from both sides until 17:48 as the Belarus side went 2-0 up. A horrendous line change by Austria left Dudik to pick the puck up just over the centre line and he blasted a shot from the blue line that Divis could only pad straight back to him. The Belarus forward calmly took control of the puck and sent it into the open net. Austria replied within a minute when D man Andre Lakos accepted a neat pass from Setzinger and wristed the puck over the glove side of Andrei Mezin from the left face off circle. End of the 1st 2-1 to Belarus.

Austria levelled the scoring on 24:26 on the powerplay. Andre Lakos again hit a wrister from the left face off circle for the same result as his last shot. 2-2. Seconds later Kulakov pinged one off the crossbar from close range as Belarus began to dominate. Austria continued to make basic errors and after another dreadful line change, they were caught with too many men on the ice and paid the ultimate price on 27:10 as Ugarov found himself one on one with Divis, deked the goalie and as he lay sprawling, flipped the puck into the roof of the net. 3-2 Belarus. On 33:14, after sustained pressure, Belarus took a two goal lead with Antonenko scoring on the powerplay. The East Europeans dominated the rest of the period, pinning Austria in their own defensive zone for long shifts. End of 2nd Belarus 4 Austria 2.

The third period was played pretty much like the end of the second with Belarus pressing hard, forcing errors from the Austrians. Kulakov added a late goal to ensure Belarus make the second round and condemn Austria to the relagation round.

A fully deserved win for Belarus. Austria must regroup and cut out the individual and team errors if they are to retain their Elite Status.


These two teams really do not like each other and it showed again tonight as a feisty, competitive game ended with a narrow win for the Czech Republic. The first period was no quarter given and none asked and the referee had his hands full and needed eyes in the back of his head to keep on top of two sides determined to come out on top. USA had a lengthy 5 on 3 in the first half of the period but Cechmanek stood firm and kept on top of the puck. The second half of the period was a different affair as the USA fell foul of the referee and had a series of penalty kills to negotiate. On the third of these one man advantages, the Czechs went into the lead. Hlinka fed the puck from behind the net to Acaslava who converted easily for the go ahead goal. That was it for the period and the teams went to the locker room to reflect.

USA then took the game to the Czechs and equalised on 24:42 on the powerplay, Suter hit a shot from the point and it evaded Cechmane'’s pads for the equaliser. Six minutes later the Czechs regained the lead when Irgl sped down the wing and scored past Grahame on the far side. That finished the scoring in the second period with all to play for in the final third of the game.

The third period kicked off at 44:12 with a full brawl at the Czech net. Stempniak of USA and Smidl of Czech Republic received 5 plus match, Kessel of USA and Novotny of Czech Republic took 2 mins for roughing and surprisingly Cechmanek took a 2 plus 2 for roughing. His ridiculous attack on Kessel and then several punches with his blocker on Stempniak deserved much more. I think a judicial review might increase his penalties on this occasion. End to end stuff ensued until just under 3 minutes to go when Tenkrat scored the insurance goal to put Czech Republic 3-1 ahead. This spurred on the young guns from the US of A and they took the game to their East European rivals. Cechmanek made 3 good saves from close in to keep the lead. The Americans did pull one back on 53:59 with a goal from Larose and laid siege to the Czech goal for the remaining 6 minutes. The Czech Republic held out and their team to a man went straight to Cechmanek at the final hooter. Was it for the plays that earned him the Man of the Match or was it for the punches... who knows?

USA can feel a bit aggrieved at losing this one, but there will be more battles for this plucky young side.

That leaves the Czechs topping the group with USA in second and Belarus third, all three going to the second round. Austria go to the relegation games and must be worried at their individual errors that have cost them dearly at this stage.

Group D


This battle to avoid the relegation spot in Group D was always going to be a tense but entertaining affair and the crowd were certainly not disappointed. Whilst not the best technical game so far in the tournament, it was surely the most entertaining.

Denmark took the game early to the Ukraine, trying to unsettle their goalie, playing in his first championship and took the lead on 1:26. Starkov initiated the move by passing to Nielsen in the face off circle and converted the rebound off Federov to score. Ukraine were level 6 minutes later six seconds after the end of a power play when Shafarenko passed to Materukhin on the hash marks who wristed past Hirsch high on the glove side. The crowd were on the edge of their seats as play went from end to end, neither side managing to break through. On 10:31, it was the Danes who got that breakthrough when Rasmus Pander joined a quick rush inside the blue line and took a feed from Regin to fire through Federov’s fivehole. The game ebbed and flowed from blue to blue and the whole crowd new there were more goals in this game. Denmark’s third goal was a joy to watch as a sweeping move to the edge of the box. Regin sent the puck up front to Kim Staal who pivoted round and swept a backhand past Federov on 13:13. A loss of concentration just 26 seconds later let the Ukraine back into the game as Matyiichuk charged the net to jam home a rebound off a Bobrovnikov back hander. End of the first period, a classic period, and 3-2 to Denmark.

Ukraine replaced Fedorov with Seliverstov to start the second period, giving the young goaltender his first taste of championship play. The second period could never live up to the excitement of the first 20 minutes and the game settled down and became more of a chess match as both teams probed for an opening. D man Oleksandr Pobiedonostsev was injured when he took an nasty hard puck on the knee whilst blocking a Stall slapshot. He recovered enough to skate to the bench but took no further part in the game. Midway through the period Denmark scored the insurance goal on the powerplay. A superb solo skate by Frans Nielsen rushed through the Ukraine defence was blocked off but Kim Staal beat the outrushing defence to the puck to fire through traffic and past Seliverstov. No further goals in the period and the Danes went to the locker room much the happier team.

Denmark almost made it 5 after 48 minutes as Christensen followed up a bobbling puck that Seliverstov gaveup and just chipped the rubber wide of the goal. Ukraine upped the pressure from then on and at 52:23 they made it a one goal game with a wobbly shot from the blue line by Salnikov beat Hirsch on the stick side. It was all Ukraine for the next 6 minutes as they had a real go at pulling level. A penalty on Tsyrul for running the goalie with 1:26 left killed off any momentum and Denmark comfortably saw the remaining time off to reach the second round. At the hooter, Zavalniuk had a late slash on Kim Staal and then invited Frans Neilson to fight. An alert linesman skated into Zavalniuk and wrestled him away from the Dane and back to his own bench. Zavalniuk picked up a match penalty for his trouble.

A superb game of hockey, maybe not for the purist, but entertaining for the whole 60 minutes. Denmark march on to the second round and Ukraine must play in the relegation round later in the week.


The top two in the group fought out a European Classic in this match. It was certainly a game of three halves. Russia dominated the first two with classic forward play that the Finns struggled to keep up with. In the third, they showed just why they are one of the favourites and nearly pulled off a draw.

Both teams tested the goaltenders early on but were also cagey in defence, both wary of the others speed in attack. It took 6 minutes for the first real chance on goal as Gonchar hammered a shot from the blueline that clipped the post. Russia took the lead on the next shift when Kulemin powered his way into the high slot and wristed a powerful low shot past Norrena in goal. To be fair to Norenna, he must have seen the puck late due to Nummelin inadvertently screening him. 6:38 gone and 1-0 to the hosts. Finland equalised at 11:29 on the powerplay when Tuomo Ruutu deflected Mantyla’s shot past Koshechkin. At 17:40 Russia took the lead again on their first powerplay of the game when the Bars Kazan line powered their way through the Finnish defence and Zaripov finished off a beautiful pass from Zinoviev. This line has to be the best in the competition. That was it for the first period in an enthralling contest.

The second period started with a minor kerfuffle as Morizov took umbrage when he was pushed out of the crease and had a bit of handbags with Berg. Both took a 10 minute misconduct with Morizov picking up an extra 2 for roughing. Finland failed to take advantage of the powerplay but Russia increased their lead on their next man advantage. Kovalchuk found Gonchar who hammered a one timer that deflected off Kukkonen and flew past the goalie at 23:49. On the very next play, Finnish hard man Jarkko Ruutu picked up a 5 plus game for elbowing Schastlivy. Not the first time in the Championship that the Finnish tough guy has picked up a game misconduct. Russia took full advantage just 2 minutes into the penalty as the Kazan unit scored again with Morozov smashing home a rebound from a Zinoviev shot. No more scoring in a thrilling second stanza with Russia 4-1 ahead and looking like world champions.

Finland obviously had been given the Ferguson tea cup routine at the interval and came out with all guns blazing. 43:37 gone and they were back in the game as Hentunen picked up a loose rebound to force the puck home for 4-2. With 11 minutes to go and Ovechkin in the box for a hooking minor, Lehtinen also forced a rebound home after a Peltonen shot to make it a one goal game. The Finnish supporters in the crowd, far outnumbered by the hosts, were the noisy ones at this time, but were silenced two minutes later when Schastlivy scored, firing a shot past the screened Norrena. Most teams would have given up, but not the Finns. They powered forward again with six minutes left and ageing hero Petteri Nummelin hit one through traffic to bring them back to within one goal. Finland nearly equalised with three and a half minutes left when Kallio passed to Pyorala whose shot was well saved by Koshechkin. Russia then massed their defence to keep the Finns at bay for a 5-4 win.

An absolutely top class game with 59 shots on goal between the teams. Both move forward to the second round with the Russians taking an extra 3 points forward.

Russia, Finland and Denmark progress to the second round with Ukraine going to the relegation round.

That’s it for today, four outstanding games and some of the best hockey I have seen for years. The competition gets better and better... who needs the NHL??