Malasinski makes it
Malasinski makes it
First Polish win vs. Japan in 10 years
In a game with two disciplined teams who had a tough battle for most of the game the Poles had the better end thanks to two third-period goals. Tomasz Malasinski scored the game-winner on Poland’s only power play early in the third period. Polish backup Przemyslaw Odrobny had a shutout with 26 saves.
“It was a very tough game but there was a lot of determination from our players. They played really smart and the goalkeeper was really good. The players played with heart and energy, which was very important today,” Polish national team coach Jacek Plachta said.
Japan and Poland are two hockey nations who have some things in common. Both have almost all players from the clubs at home and have a wide pool of players, but not strong enough to get back to the top division where Japan last time played in 2004 and Poland in 2002.
Back in 2002 Poland even beat Japan 5-2 at the World Championship in Sweden but because Japan was automatically in as the Asian qualifier, the Poles went down after the relegation round. Also in Division I play the Poles were the better team in the last encounter in 2005 (2-1) but since then the teams haven’t met and Poland played in the lower group B for the last few years until coming back.
After missing out on an upset win against Italy on Sunday, the Poles came out fighting hard, which Kazumasa Sasaki had to feel when he was hit hard into the boards by Aron Chmielewski after four minutes of play and had to be brought to hospital with a facial injury.Continue reading
Both teams played disciplined and no team had a clear advantage in the first period.
In the second period Japanese captain Go Tanaka had a great chance when his shot went a few centimetres wide of the net on a counter attack and when missing out on another shot later during that period.
Grzegorz Pasiut had a nice scoring chance when Shinya Yanadori lost the puck on the power play at 13:42 of the second period but he didn’t bring the puck behind Yutaka Fukufuji.
Also Przemyslaw Odrobny had a strong game in the Polish net. He replaced Rafal Radziszewski in the last game, who had to serve a suspension following the match penalty in the opening game against Italy, and was a much sought man after the game.
Early in the third period one team’s work was eventually rewarded with a goal. Poland got its first power play of the game after a roughing penalty against Sho Sato. Tomasz Malasinski capitalized on it by deflecting a horizontal pass to the crease from Krzysztof Zapala.
At 10:32 the fans of the host nation were celebrating another goal when Marcin Kolusz deflected a long shot from an acute angle that came from Mateusz Rompowski from the left side.
“They deserved the victory. I thought at times when we had more energy and the game was open we had our scoring chances but in hockey if you don’t score you can’t win the game,” Japan coach Mark Mahon said. “I knew the first goal would be important and they played smart when they scored the goal.”
Japan tried it all in the dying minutes of the game but it was the Poles who won the first encounter between these teams in an IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship event in ten years.
The win keeps Poland in the race for the top spots while Japan had a rough start after having been able to battle for promotion until the last game one year ago.
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