International Ice Hockey Federation

Huge Hungarian comeback

Ukraine blows 2-0 lead, misses first win

Published 23.04.2015 20:03 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Huge Hungarian comeback
The Hungarian fans celebrate in front of their fans who travelled to Krakow. Photo: Miroslaw Ring
Hungary came back from a two-goal deficit to beat Ukraine 4-2. Their game against Poland on Saturday will decide about promotion.

The result also means that Italy is not only virtually but also mathematically eliminated from the race for promotion. Kazakhstan can secure promotion already tonight while Hungary and Poland will determine their future in their head-to-head clash in two days.

Recently naturalized Andrew Sarauer scored two goals and had three points in the Hungarian win.

“We just didn’t want to get negative. We were down 2-0 but we knew we had a good team. We didn’t want to go down 2-0, it’s tough, but we battled hard and scored the one that brought life back into the room,” Sarauer said about the comeback.

The victory makes the maths for the last game day easy for Hungary. With a win against host Poland on Saturday, in regulation time, overtime or shootout, the Magyars can make it back to the top division for 2016. In some cases even a point from an overtime/shootout loss may be sufficient.

“We managed to have 15 shots on goal and had nothing to show from it. Our guys got frustrated and it cost us goals in the second period,” Hungary head coach Rich Chernomaz said. “We found a way in the third period and showed the result we wanted.”

The many Hungarian fans at the Tauron Arena Krakow needed some patience. Although Hungary outshot Ukraine 15-7 in the first period the teams went into the dressing room for the first intermission with a scoreless game.

“The team was a little bit tired after last night’s game,” Ukraine coach Alexander Godynyuk said. “The first period was very tough for us. We basically just tried to kill the offensive wave of the Hungarians. We scored the lead in the second period but unfortunately we blew it in the third period. It’s a tough loss, I feel empty right now.”

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The Ukrainians improved their game for the second frame and made life tougher for their opponent. And they even scored on a power play.

Andri Mikhnov attempted trying a wraparound but then sent a diagonal drop pass to Roman Blagy. After initially hitting his skate Blagy shot the puck in to open the scoring at 4:36 of the middle frame.

Around the halfway mark of the period the Hungarians had bad luck with two post shots that could have changed the direction of the game.

Instead Blagy took the puck after Martin Vas’s turnover in his own zone. After passes to Mikhnov and Artem Gnidenko it was the latter who capitalized on this opportunity for the 2-0 goal at 14:39.

Two minutes later the Hungarian eventually had the reaction they wanted in form of a goal. Sarauer scored it after a deflected shot from the blue line to bring his team back in the game.

The Ukrainians almost restored the two-goal lead on a breakaway late in the period but Blagy’s shot went wide.

Midway through the third period the Hungarians got the opportunity to play 5-on-3 and coach Rich Chernomaz used his timeout.

At 11:26 Daniel Koger tied the game with Hungary still having one man more on the ice.

The game remained open and Ukraine got the chance to regain the lead on a power play but the Hungarians killed the penalty and scored another goal.

With 3:55 left to play Koger led another attack but was prevented from shooting. However, Sarauer was at the right spot to move the puck in.

The Ukrainians got another power play and reacted. Gnidenko thought to have tied the game at three when he deflected a point shot from Olexander Pobyedonostsev. However, his stick was high and the video goal judge determined it was too high.

Now Hungary was the lucky team and with 2:45 left in regulation time Istvan Sofron scored the shorthanded 4-2 goal on a counter-attack to seal the win.

Next up for Hungary will be the game against Poland for promotion.

“They play with a lot of pace and determination,” Chernomaz said about Poland. “They play a very physical game. They play a much better game than they did in the last few years.”

Also on Saturday Ukraine will have a relegation battle against Japan.