International Ice Hockey Federation

Gearing up

Gearing up

Korea off to winning start

Published 14.04.2015 09:43 GMT+2 | Author Joeri Loonen
Gearing up
Jui Hui Ahn's tournament is in doubt after leaving the game on a stretcher. Photo: Thijs de Witte
Korea made no mistake on the opening day of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division 1, Group B. They defeated Estonia 7-3

The tournament favourites faced the lowest seeded team and learned some valuable lessons. At this level it is not an option to play with reserves. 

Straight from the puck drop, the swift skating Koreans took control of the game. It didn't take long after until the Asians took the lead when Sangwook Kim's shot through traffic deflected off several legs into the net.

When Michael Swift doubled the lead late in the first period, Korea lowered a gear and immediately paid the price. Veteran sniper Andrei Makrov was at the right place to tip in a rebound to score Estonia's first goal of the tournament.

New Korea head coach Jim Paek must have been vocal in the locker room during the first intermission as the Koreans came out flying in the second forcing Estonia to withstand heavy pressure. Goaltender Villem-Henrik Koitmaa was peppered with shots, 19 in the second period. The goaltender came up with some miraculous saves and some help from the post but had to surrender when Mike Testwuide scored from his back from close range.

With the extended lead, Korea was in pole position to run up the score but instead turned down the tempo a notch. Estonia immediately took advantage of it and it was Andrei Makrov again who came up huge for his country. 

One of Estonia's all-time scorers, found himself alone in front of the net after a poor defensive clearance by Korea and patiently found the five hole underneath Korean netminder Kye Hoon Park.

Estonia's hope on upsetting the top seed were dealt a blow when Kevin Parras was handed a 5+20 penalty for charging after checking Jin Hui Ahn into the boards. The Korean had to leave the ice and did not return for the remainder of the game. First indications are Ahn suffered a collision which will mean he is not likely to return this tournament. After intensive treatment he was carried off on a stretcher to be hospitalized.

Continue reading

Although Korea could not convert during the five minute power play, they did take full advantage of the fatigued Estonians with a pair of goals late in the second period to take a comfortable 5-2 lead.

An opportunistic Estonia came out determined in the third period scoring an early power play goal by Vasili Titarenko but the Koreans would not be caught again. Michael Swift and Mike Testwuide each scored their second goal of the day as Korea finished with a comfortable 7-3 victory. 

"A first game in a tournament is never easy so I'm glad that we won," commented Michael Swift. "Today we were sloppy at times and Estonia took advantage of that. We still have to get used to the new system implemented by our new coaches and that takes some time." 

Swift was full of praise of the new coaching staff which he feels is another step in the right direction for Korea.

"You can see they have played at a high level. The systems they try to have us play are great and also the preparation to this tournament started early and was professional. It's a delight to be playing for them."

Korea knows it will have to play better if they want to win the gold medal in this tournament. Their next challenge will be against hosts the Netherlands. Estonia will be looking for their first points of the tournament against Great Britain.


Back to Overview