International Ice Hockey Federation

Ukraine heads hunt for gold

Ukraine heads hunt for gold

Stuns GB 2-1 in final day thriller

Published 23.04.2016 18:13 GMT+2 | Author Henrik Manninen
Ukraine heads hunt for gold
Croatia,Zagreb, 23.04.2016.WM Div IB IIHF ICE HOCKEY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Ukraine-Great Britain Photo:Igor Soban
A final frame surge sees Ukraine move top of the table to secure at least silver as Great Britain suffers a last day setback for the second year in a row.

Defenceman Olexander Pobyedonostsev was Ukraine's saviour of the day as he scored their winner with 3:56 left of their pivotal game with Great Britain.

A 2-1 win during the final day at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group B puts Ukraine into the driving seat and top of the table.

Ukraine now need to wait for the outcome of a nail biting final game of the tournament between Lithuania and Croatia to find out whether they will be celebrating gold of mourning a silver medal.

A regulation time win for Lithuania against Croatia would mean that the Baltic state would sensationally win gold and Ukraine would move down to second place.

Dmytro Chernyshenko and Pobyedonostsev scored Ukraine's goals in their final period charge which saw them topple Great Britain. Eduard Zakharchenko recorded 27 saves between the pipes for Ukraine.

Great Britain who were chasing their first gold medal at World Championship level since 1993, needed only one point to secure promotion and are now left to lick their wounds after missing out on promotion during the final game for the second year in a row.

Captain Jonathan Phillips scored Great Britains sole marker. Whether Great Britain will travel home with silver or bronze will also be decided in tonight's late game.

"You could say we were mad about losing last night's game against Lithuania and wanted to prove to ourselves that we deserve to be one of the contenders for the first place, so today we just buried our heads down and worked really hard and deserved to win," said a delighted Vladyslav Gavryk.

Great Britain took the play to Ukraine during the opening stages. Russel Cowley won a battle with Ukraine's Vsevolod Tolstushko behind the net and his feed forced Zakharchenko to a double save on efforts from Ross Venus and Ashley Tait.

Winning the shots 15-3, Great Britain had the upper hand during the first frame, while Ukraine failed to get any flow into their powerplay during their two attemps at playing on a man advantage.

Ukraine's Roman Blagy showed fine individual skill when turning David Clarke inside out along the left boards to charge on netminder Ben Bowns after 51 seconds of the second period, but soon after the contest had firmly tilted over in Great Britain's favour.

Instigated by a Robert Lachowicz surge down the left he picked out Joshua Batch who hit a one-timer from the blueliner which saw captain Phillips tip home Great Britain's opener at 21:54 to put GB ahead.

Ukraine got into further trouble when Oleg Shafarenko drew a boarding penalty at 26:50. Withstanding bullets from Ben O'Connor and Jonathan Weaver, Ukraine's Artem Gnidenko then snapped up the puck from O'Connor to surge ahead on a 2-on-1 but Bondarenko missed target with the goal at his mercy.

But Ukraine got their reward in the final frame. Mark Richardson lost the puck in his defensive zone, snapped up by Gavryk he picked out Chernyshenko who tied the game at 15:35.

With all left to play for, Ukraine now came to full life. Winning the shots in the final frame by 12 to 5 they completed their fightback at 3:56 when Shafarenko rounded Bowns' cage and picked out Pobyedonostsev who charged down from his defensive position to rake home the winner with 3:56 to go.

"I don't know what to say, I am just stunned. It is like last year all over again and I just can't put it into words," said a dejected Peter Russell, head coach of Great Britain.

"We gave it everything we had and I really am proud of everyone. We were fantastic all week but we just couldn't get over the line. This is a horrible feeling.”


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