International Ice Hockey Federation

Lithuania does it again

Lithuania does it again

Blanks the Netherlands and starts with victory

Published 14.04.2015 21:12 GMT+2 | Author Joeri Loonen
Lithuania does it again
Lithuania once again had the Netherlands on their backs. Photo: Thijs de Witte
Like last year, Lithuania gets the better of the Dutch. A single goal was enough for victory.

The hosts got off to possibly the worst start they could think of. The first Lithuanian attack resulted in a goal. A bizarre one. Eleven seconds into the game Daniel Bogdziul squared a puck in front of net. Arnoldas Bosas was falling to the ice but found the puck deflect into the top corner via his heel.

It must be said that the Dutch did not lose their composure but instantly were looking for the equalizer. But they were thwartened by a solid Mantas Armalis in net for Lithuania.

His counterpart in orange, Ian Meierdres was equal to the task though, stopping 25 out of 26 shots which turned the game into a goaltending duel. Armalis was superb with 35 saves as well. No surprise both goaltenders were awarded the best player of the game award after the match.

"It's nice to play a good game but after such a loss it's without value," said a visibly disappointed Meierdres. "The early goal was really tough to concede and makes you want to disppear underneath the ice for a moment. But I think we kept our heads up and played our heart out for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately it didn't lead to us scoring the equalizing goal."

Although the game lacked crisp passing and well executed attacks, it was enjoyable for the nearly sold out IJsportcentrum in Eindhoven. This was primarily the case because both teams were almost even in many aspects of the game and both lacking the cutting edge to convert on their opportunities.

The Dutch thought they had finally solved Armalis when Kevin Brujsten made a power forward move toward the net ending in it himself together with the puck. After video review, referee Martin Grumsen however ruled out the goal.

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Runnning into penalty trouble late in the second period, Lithuania was given a golden opportunity to start the final period with a two-man advantage. They almost doubled their lead but defenceman Nerijus Alisauskas saw his long range effort ring off the post.

Playing in front of their home fans and in search for an equalier, the Netherlands marched forward enjoying long dominant spells in the Lithuanian defensive zone. But the puck posession didn't create many great scoring chances other than some shots from far out which were easily parried by Armalis.

A late all-or-nothing effort for Chris Eimers' man got interrupted due to more penalty time that the Dutch had to swallow. When these exceeded there wasn't enough time left for the hosts to find a way past Armalis despite having the goaltender pulled with over a minute left to play and outshooting Lithuania 17-5 in the final period.

"Two weeks of hard work and preparation are gone after just 11 seconds. After that it took us ten minutes before we recovered," head coach Chris Eimers commented. "I think we deserved more based on our third period but we shot ourselves in the foot by taking some stupid penalties."

 The Netherlands will now face Korea tomorrow while Lithuania will square off against Croatia.


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