Tre Kronor barely beats Ukraine
By Andrew Podnieks
Sweden and Ukraine opened their 2005 World Championship at the
Olympiahalle with a result that nearly stunned the tournament. Tre
Kronor won the Sunday night game 3-2, but thanks only to a Daniel
Alfredsson goal midway through the third period to break the tie.
The Swedes opened the scoring at 5:17 on a beautiful goal by Magnus
Kahnberg. He took the puck in the corner, skated out in front through
the crease and slid the puck under the goal stick of Kostyasntyn
Simchuk, who tried the pokecheck. As the goalie fell, Kahnberg slid
the puck into the goal to finish a beautiful individual effort.
Another brilliant effort at 9:07 on the power play gave the Swedes
their second goal. Thomas Rhodin took a pass at the left point, faked
a shot and moved in, faked another Ukrainian defender out of his
underwear, and then slid a beautiful pass to Kenny Jonsson, who had
the open net when Simchuk went for a third fake and over-committed to
the puck carrier.
The Ukrainians proved incapable of mounting any offensive presence in
the Swedish end, icing the puck several times and never maintaining
puck possession for any length of time. Not helping the cause were
four first period penalties against the Ukrainians to none for
Sweden. To their credit, though, they did kill off a lengthy 5-on-3
midway through the period.
"It's difficult to play one of the best teams in the world when
they're on the power play so much," Ukrainian Coach Oleksandr Seukand
The Swedish side of the story was just the opposite. "We have to
score more on the power play," Bengt-Ake Gustafsson said. "That's one
of the keys to going far in this tournament."
The Ukrainians came out in the second with vigor and had two scoring
chances early on, but Henrik Lundqvist robbed Vitali Semenchenko with
his right pad and just seconds later made a fine blocker stop off a
shot in the slot by Roman Salnikov.
At 6:32 the heavy underdogs were rewarded for their efforts. Vasyl
Bobrovnikov dashed up the left wing and drew a penalty when he was
hauled down, and seconds later he was hammered into the boards where
he lay hurt for a few moments. Meanwhile, referee Vladimnir Sindler's
hand was in the air on the delayed penalty, and just before
Bobrovnikov was nailed he hit Bogdan Savenko with a perfect pass.
Savenko walked in and deked Lundqvist with a beautiful fake, and the
Swedes, playing a dangerous game, were now leading just 2-1.
The Ukrainians then tightened up defensively and stayed out of the
penalty boxand good luck followed. The Swedes hit the post twice,
and then at 12:37 Sergei Klymentyev drifted a quick wrist shot forom
the blueline that beat Lundqvist, who threw his arms up in the air to
let everyone in the building know he had been screened. Fans roared
with approval as Ukraine had tied the score, 2-2.
Indicative of Tre Kronor's frustrations were a series of scrums after
the whistleall of which occurred around the crease of Simchuk--which
must have delighted Ukraine coach Seukand. Although the Swedes
controlled play the rest of the period, the game was still 2-2 after
The Ukrainians began the third period with gold-medal confidence and
the Swedes were tentative and nervous. Tre Kronor failed to score on
an early 5-on-3, and then Ukraine had two odd-man rushes and nearly
scored the go-ahead goal. Then, on a breakaway, Sergei Varlamov was
stoned by Lundqvist after it looked like he had been beaten. For long
stretches, it was hard to tell if Sweden was playing in its blue or
"I thought I had the open net," Varlamov said, "but I just missed the
puck. It was an unlucky break."
Order was restored just in time. Midway through the period, Daniel
Alfredsson took a pass in the slot from Christian Backman and blew a
wrist shot over Simchuk's glove to give the Swedes the win. Final
shots were 48-17 for Sweden, but that margin didn't matter on the
"The first period we played at a high pace," said Sweden's Henrik
Zetterberg, "but in the second we played down to their level. They're
a skilled team, good one-on-one. We needed to have a higher tempo
with the puck, but we didn't have any after the first period."
Kenny Jonsson: 1 goal, 1 shot, E.
Kazakhstan stuns Germany 2-1
By Frank Johne
Kazakhstan pulled off a big win in their quest to stay in the top
division for another year. A late first-period breakaway goal by
veteran Yevgeniy Koreshkov went down as the game-winner as the
Kazakhs upset Germany 2-1 in their Group D opener at the Wiener
Stadthalle Sunday night.
Goaltender Vitalij Kolesnik, who was selected Kazakhstan's player of
the game, backstopped the team with 35 saves as the Kazakhs hung on
for victory after jumping out to a 2-0 first period lead. Losing
goaltender Oliver Jonas recorded 20 stops.
"Basically everyone on our team comes from the same town," said
Kazakh forward Dmitriy Dudarev. "We have all played on the same team
and under the same system. So I think we have an advantage over the
other teams that come together just before the tournament."
Kazakh defenseman Alexey Vassilchenko was taken to a local hospital
after being hit in the face by a neutral zone shot from Alex Barta
during the first period.
Kazhakstan got an early power play chance when Stefan Schauer
wrestled down Andrej Pchelya on the breakaway. Dmitri Upper re-
directed a slap shot by Yevgeniy Blokhin from the left point past
Oliver Jonas to put Kazakhstan on the board, 1-0, 1:24 into the game.
Germany dominated the opening 20 minutes without creating many
quality scoring opportunities. They only put little pressure on the
Kazakh net during their three power play chances. Things got even
worse for Germany when Yevgeniy Koreshkov picked up a clearing pass
from Alexey Koledayev off the boards, raced past defender Lasse
Kopitz and backhandedly slid the puck underneath Jonas' left pad to
double Kazakhstan's lead to 2-0 with 2:05 left in the period.
Although Germany tried to apply more pressure at the beginning of the
second, the Kazakhs almost made it 3-0, but Jonas got his right pad
down in time to deny a low shot by Yevgenij Koreshkov from the left
slot. The game went back and forth thereafter, while Germany's
troubles up front continued.
Germany's Alex Barta was stopped 1-on-0 by Kazakh netminder Vitalij
Kolesnik and Tomas Martinec failed on two attempts from the doorstep.
At the other end, Jonas' goaltending kept the Germans in the game
with a couple of good saves, including a big stop against Andrey
Trochshinskiy on the breakaway.
The "Czech line" put Germany back in business with 28 seconds
remaining in the second period. Petr Fical drew the attention of two
Kazakh players charging into the offensive zone and then played a no-
look pass across to Tomas Martinec who went top-shelf on Kolesnik's
glove hand to cut the Kazakh lead to 2-1.
During the intermission, German Head Coach Greg Poss raced up into
the stands for a video analysis with his assistant coaches Bernie
Engelbrecht and Ernst Höfner. It did not change anything.
The game even slowed down in the final period. Germany just could not
find a way to solve the Kazakhs who were content to sit back in their
zone, waiting for counter attacks. They even got closer to scoring
when a mighty slap shot rang off the German crossbar early in the
third period. Defenseman Stephan Retzer had one of Germany's rare
opportunities in the final period, being denied by Kolesnik's left
pad after a fine solo.
"It was hard to come back from a 2-0 deficit," said German Head Coach
Greg Poss. "We had a lot of scoring opportunities but failed to cash
in. Kazakhstan was very strong tonight. It was just one game. We now
have to get everybody ready for the game against the Czechs."
The game got a little rough in the end when Germany tried to
penetrate the Kazakh net with an extra attacker. But Kolesnik
protected the lead.
"We approached this game like a final," said Kazakh Head Coach
Nikolay Myshagin. "Everyone knew how much impact it would have on the
rest of the tournament."
Dimitri Upper: 1 goal, 2shots, E...