Statement win for Hungary
Japanese blow lead again vs. Magyars
Recently naturalized Frank Banham scored the game-winning goal on a power play with 3:25 left in regulation time to bring the Hungarians on track in front of almost 2,000 enthusiastic Hungarian fans among the spectators who travelled to Poland.
“It’s a great feeling to start on a positive note. It’s huge for us. We were down twice during the game, we fought back and showed a lot of determination. It’s a great way to start the tournament,” Banham said after his debut in IIHF play – at the age of 40.
“We generated a lot of opportunities, I think they didn’t generate as much as we did. We put more pressure on their goalie than they did on ours, that made the difference.”
Hungary outshot Japan 28-23.
Last year Hungary beat Japan in a shootout in a game that mattered for Japan as it battled for promotion in the last round while for Hungary it didn’t change anything on the fifth-place finish.
This time the teams faced each other on the very first day in a game that could potentially predetermine which of these teams will have bright prospects in the race for promotion.
Also this game started as a tight clash. Daisuke Obara scored a highlight-worthy first goal deking the Hungarians in the right face-off circle before netting the puck to make 1-0 after 96 seconds of play.
The Hungarians took initiative to tie but had bad luck when they seemed to score but the goal was not allowed due to high-sticking. But at 9:44 the Hungarians made it a 1-1 game on a shot from the blueline. Daniel Koger was the scorer of his team’s first goal of the tournament.Continue reading
Also the second period remained open. The game could have turned into the favour of any team but at 10:40 it was the Japanese, who scored again. After a horizontal pass from Shinya Yanadori, Yushiroh Hirano hammered the puck in with a perfect shot from the face-off circle.
Although both teams had chances to score, the Hungarians created the better scoring opportunities later in the game and it needed some sacrifice from the Japanese defence to prevent conceding another goal.
Japanese goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji got more work in the last minutes of regulation time. Five minutes before the end Balasz Sebok failed after a short horizontal pass before the Japanese net. One minute later Kazumasa Sasaki was assessed a penalty for hooking Koger in front of the Japanese net.
Hungary coach Rich Chermonaz took his time-out and 27 seconds later the fans in the big and loud Hungarian sector at Tauron Arena Krakow celebrated what would become the game-winning goal in a co-production of two Canada-born debutants.
Andrew Sarauer deked the Japanese behind the net sending his drop pass to the other side where Banham was ready to score the 3-2 goal. Janos Hari scored the 4-2 goal into the empty net with 66 seconds left.
Japan will play host Poland tomorrow while Hungary will play Kazakhstan in the early game. With another win the Hungarians could confirm their ambitions although Banham doesn’t want to look that far.
“We take it game by game and stick to our game plan. If we do that we will have success,” he said.
Hungary vs. Japan
Hungary doesn’t appear to be a favourite opponent for Japan, which like last year blew a lead while the Hungarians celebrated a 4-2 opening-day win at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Krakow.