International Ice Hockey Federation

Italy’s Insam scores in OT

Azzurri get another tight win, vs. Ukraine

Published 20.04.2015 19:09 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Italy’s Insam scores in OT
Italian forward Brian Ihnacak battles in front of the net of Ukrainian netminder Eduard Zakharchenko. Photo: Miroslaw Ring
The Italian national team also won its second game in Krakow by the tightest margin. Marco Insam scored the game-winning goal against Ukraine in overtime.

“It’s a huge win for the team here. We played hard in the whole game. We never gave up and never stopped believe in it. Luckily it went in,” Insam said.

“They came off from a tough loss yesterday. We were sure they would bring their A game today. We had too many penalties but we managed to kill them all.”

Although Italy outshot Ukraine 33-19, the two teams were on par for most of the game.

The game was a clash between two teams that have met each other more regularly in the first part of the millennium not only in the Division I but in the past also in the top division. In the last encounter six years ago also in Poland (Torun), the Italians won 2-0 in the deciding game for promotion.

Since then a lot has changed and both teams came here with different ambitions. The top-seeded Italians try to rejuvenate the team and count on less Italian-Canadians while the Ukrainians came to Krakow after a difficult season for many players due to the financial crisis in Ukrainian hockey.

During the first period none of the teams was a dominant force and their goalkeepers kept their teams in the game.

At 4:26 Brian Ihnacak broke the deadlock with a high shot into the near corner from the right face-off circle to beat Eduard Zakharchenko for the 1-0 goal on a power play. It was his second goal of the tournament and it shows why coach Stefan Mair counts on him despite the ambition of reducing the number of players developed outside of Italy on the national team.

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However, only two minutes later the Ukrainians tied the game after a quick attack much to the delight of a busload of Ukrainian school kids who supported their team on the tribune.

Olexander Pobyedonostsev sent Artem Bondaryev for a counter-attack. In front of the goal Bondaryev fed Viktor Zakharov, who scored with a shot into the top left corner with Ukraine’s first chance of the period.

Both teams had their chances and power plays during the rest of the game but didn’t manage to score another goal in regulation time. Both goalkeepers did a good job with Zakharchenko saved 31 out of 33 shots while Andreas Bernard had 18 saves.

However, in overtime the Italians made it a short affair. Already after 16 seconds of extra time the Italian bench was cheering. Marco Insam scored on the rebound – a goal that was confirmed after a short video review.

The Italians remain in contention for promotion while the Ukrainians will likely have to fight for survival in this group.