International Ice Hockey Federation

Japan stays up

Japan stays up

Strong second period leads to 3-1 win vs. Ukraine

Published 25.04.2015 15:49 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Japan stays up
Japanese forward Hiroki Ueno celebrates a goal against Ukraine during the second period. Photo: Miroslaw Ring
Japan beat Ukraine 3-1 in the battle against relegation and stay in the Division I Group A while Ukraine will be relegated to the Group B.

“We had to win today against Ukraine. We stuck to our system and we did a great job today,” Japanese captain Go Tanaka said. “We wanted to stay in this group and not go down so we are very happy.”

It was an outcome that didn’t came as a surprise after the recent games. Ukraine was missing several players and didn’t have an optimal preparation as the country’s professional league started its season only in February due to the difficult situation in the country.

To make things even worse, Ukraine lost one of its best defencemen, Olexander Pobyedonostsev, with a lower-body injury after crashing into the end boards midway through the first period.

The Ukrainians had more chances and four power plays in a first period that ended scoreless. Eventually they capitalized on the first power play of the middle frame at 8:13.

Roman Blagy outskated Keigo Minoshima on the left boards and beat Japanese goalie Yutaka Fukufuji with a high shot in the near corner.

Japan reacted on the next power play with Yushiroh Hirano’s slap shot to tie the game just two minutes later. And Hiroki Uena gave Japan the lead three minutes afterwards converting a nice drop pass from Daisuke Obara.

It took only two-and-a-half more minutes until Obara made use of another power play for the 3-1 marker after Volodymyr Aleksyuk’s giveaway.

After that the seemingly exploited Ukrainian players were not able to react. After two years in this group Ukraine has to go back and will play in the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B with Great Britain, Lithuania, Croatia, Estonia and Romania.

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Japan will finish the tournament in fourth or fifth place.


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