International Ice Hockey Federation

Hungary writes history

Hungary writes history

Win over Italy keeps Magyars in promotion race

Published 22.04.2015 19:53 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Hungary writes history
Hungarian forward Andrew Sarauer (left) and Daniel Koger (right) put pressure on the Italian net. Photo: Miroslaw Ring
Hungary beat Italy for the first time since 1978 in an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship event to remain in a promising spot for the battle for promotion.

The Hungarians, who outshot Italy 22-11, built up a 2-0 lead in a strong first period to win the game 4-1.

“Bringing a lot of energy early really cut the Italian team off balance. Anytime you can do that you have opportunities to score although we didn’t capitalize on any of our chances except on the power play until late in the first period,” Hungary head coach Rich Chernomaz said.

The last time Hungary beat Italy in an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship was in the B-Pool in 1978 in Belgrade, 5-2. Among the players involved in that game were the fathers of Diego Kostner and Marco Insam. Since then Hungary has only been ranked better than Italy three times (1979, 2003, 2009) and can earn promotion with wins in the remaining games against Ukraine and Poland.

“I didn’t know it was that long but I’m really happy. They have a good team. We always play close games against then and I’m happy we won,” said Daniel Koger, who scored a goal and had an assist.

“I think we kept it simple, we played the way the coach wants us to play, we always stuck to the game plan. Also our goalie made huge saves when we needed him.”

At 10:52 a one-timer from Daniel Koger after a drop pass from Frank Banham brought Hungary the lead and seven minutes later Hungary’s fourth line made it 2-0. Krisztian Nagy won the face-off in the offensive zone and Balint Magosi hammered the puck in.

“We lost the game in the first period. We are going through a process and some of the players were not quite ready for the change of pace the way Hungary came out. It was better after the second period when we created chances,” Italy head coach Stefan Mair said.

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Italy was almost left without a scoring chance in the first period but that changed in the middle frame. The Italians shot more often and had the best chance when they were playing shorthanded 13 minutes into the period. Anton Bernard and Joachim Ramoser had a two-man breakaway and appeared alone in front of Hungarian netminder Miklos Rajna but Bernard’s shot went wide.

In the second intermission the organizers played the Italian ‘80s pop song “Felicita” (Luck) but once the game was on the roughly 2,000 Hungarian fans in Krakow created an atmosphere for their team and celebrated another goal of their players early in the third period.

At 3:01 Istvan Sofron, who played his first game of the tournament after serving a two-game suspension, scored with a perfect shot into the top-right corner after skating around two Italians.

Eventually Alexander Egger brought Italy onto the scoreboard two minutes later after a great side pass through the crease from Brian Ihnacak.

The Italians tried to come back and with 2:43 left in regulation time Egger had bad luck when his shot just hit the post. With 44 seconds left a goal into the empty net sealed the 4-1 win for Hungary. Marton Vas shot from his own red line and although Armin Helfer tried to deflect it, it went in.

Can Hungary make it back to the top division for the first time since 2009 in the remaining games against Ukraine and Poland?

“First is Ukraine, that’s the next step. We have to think about this game tonight and before we go to bed we just let it go and have a nice game tomorrow that we want to win,” Koger said. “The tournament is far from over.”


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