Keeping the dream alive
Keeping the dream alive
Korea posts shutout win against Lithuania
Even a brilliant Mantas Armalis couldn't stop the Koreans from posting their third victory in four games. The Djurgarden netminder looked unbeatable for nearly half the game before finally having to give in.
Midway the second period, Ki Sung Kim showed some of the class that had him earn the MVP honours in the Asia League this season. His clever pass sent Brock Radunske and Jin Hui Ahn on a 2-on-1 situation. The Kitchner, Ontario born forward made an unselfish play and delivered the perfect assist to Ahn who finished clinically. The Korean forward has fully recovered from the boarding collision in the game with Estonia that saw him hospitalized.
Ahn's goal sparked the fire in the Korean attack.
For much of the games the Asians had control of the game but could not find a way to get by Armalis. The spell was broken after that first goal.
Six minutes later, Minho Cho scored his third goal of the tournament when he tapped home a rebound from close range before Sangwook Kim and Brock Radunske converted on a well executed give-an-go with Korea on the power play with Kim scoring Korea's third of the day.
Radunske has yet to find the net this tournament but was instrumental in today's victory with three assists and was awarded the best player of the game award.
"It took a while before we found our game today," said Radunske who saw his role on the team change. "With the number of quality players in this team I have to accept I no longer always get to play top minutes. I'm glad that I managed to contribute offensively today."Continue reading
Despite being outshot 46-15, Lithuania did also get its fair share of opportunities, especially in the first period. Coach Bernd Haake has successfully implemented a solid system for his team that is no longer overrun easily by any opponent at this level.
"The guys are disciplined and is performing well," commented Haake. "We should be more efficient with the opportunities we get, especially on the power play. But given the fact I only have four real defensemen here to my availability, I have to give the team credit for their play."
Always threatening on the counter attack Lithuania caught Korea's defense napping on several occasions. Sungje Park proved why he is the current leading goaltender in Korea in bailing out the defensive lapses of his team mates.
"Our goaltender deserves a huge tap on the shoulders as he kept us in the game the first ten minutes," admitted Radunske. "Not sure what happened there but Lithuania started the game bright and were ready and caused us a lot of problems. Sungje did a great job their helping us through that phase."
With two wins from three games, Lithuania knew that an upset victory over Korea would suddenly see them entering the gold medal race, eliminating Korea. That opportunity is now gone as Great Britain and Korea will be deciding on promotion between themselves.
Haake has been witnessing a steady progress since he was appointed three year ago. "Currently we're not yet in a position to compete for the top spot at this level but we hope to get there in the next few years. In 2017 we want to host the World Championships and that would be a great moment to achieve that goal," said Haake who will decide on his future with Lithuania after this tournament.
Young Jun Lee and Ki Sung Kim also tallied for Korea in the third period. The Koreans take over the top spot in the group with nine points for four games leapfrogging Great Britain, who still have a game in hand, by a single point.
Korea will complete their World Championship with a game against Croatia tomorrow, while Lithuania will play for a bronze medal when they beat Great Britain.
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