Italy relegated after losing to Kazakhstan
Italy will be sent to Division IA for the 2023 World Cup after Monday’s 5-2 defeat by Kazakhstan. Italy finished the tournament with just one point, plus an overtime loss
It will mark Italy’s return to the second tournament for the first time since 2018, avoiding relegation last year as the IIHF decided not to enforce it due to COVID-19. It’s Italy’s sixth trip to Division IA since 2011 and it will rise to the top event all but once.
Kazakhstan struggled to keep their lead for most of the tournament and that happened again today. Curtis Valk scored to make it 11:22 after pinching the puck from close range, only to be reclaimed by Italy’s Brandon McNally on a power play three minutes later.
Luckily for Kazakhstan, Valeri Orekhov regained the lead a minute later with a wrist shot, beating Andreas Bernhard for a late advantage in the first. Alikhan Aestov converted a scoring chance from Yegor Petukhov with a two-goal lead in the fourth minute of the second minute, giving Kazakhstan some breathing room in a tight game. That didn’t last long, however, because Diego Kostner scored 25:26 to make it 3:2.
A controversial knee to Dylan di Perna in the final two minutes of the second changed everything. In the five-minute lead that followed, Roman Starchenko scored with a wrist shot to make it 4-2, making an Italian comeback much more difficult. A tip from Nikita Mikhailis after a pass from Orekhov at 46:02 sealed the deal, keeping Kazakhstan in the top tournament for consecutive years while relegation is active for the first time since 2004-06.
Britain falling apart, relegation for 2023
Great Britain were 14 minutes away from avoiding relegation again. Instead, they squandered a 3-1 lead against Austria towards the end of the game and forced GB back into Division IA thanks to a 5-3 defeat.
Promoted to the top tournament spot in 2019, Great Britain earned their place in 2020 with a strong effort when it mattered. There was no relegation in 2021, but the team would have avoided it anyway on points.
Without Liam Kirk, that hurts and marks a sad end in the top flight for a side that has stuck together for many years.
The first half was all GB with Matthew Myers scoring a minute from time in the first half to open things up. Robert Dowd then added a 1:57 into the second, giving GB a nice advantage. Ali Wukovits’ first World Cup goal at 44:51 halved the lead, but Cade Neilson scored one of his own to regain the two-goal lead with 14 minutes to go.
Then everything collapsed. Dominique Heinrich’s onetimer by Peter Schneider made it 3:2, Benjamin Nissner equalized to 51:26 after Thomas Raffl had won a fight on the cushions.
Raffl finally became a hero when he scored through a small gap in Ben Bowns’ legs to make it 3-3 at 58-54, sending a British team that usually needed to win to despair. They didn’t, and Scneider’s empty net ended things on a positive note for Austria in a good third period to avoid relegation themselves.
Denmark beats Canada for the first time ever
On paper, this should have been Canada’s losing game. But Denmark played a stronger, more consistent game and eventually Canada won 3-2 for the first time in World Cup history.
The fight in Group A is getting more interesting now. If Canada loses to France and Slovakia beats Denmark, there’s a chance of a three-way draw on the final day of competition.
But you have to look for that tomorrow. Denmark has a lot to celebrate today.
Denmark took advantage of the situation with two goals from four shots to open the game. Markus Lauridsen and Peter Regin made it 2-0 in the first period, forcing Canada to stay on their heels despite a 14-6 win over Denmark.
Maxime Comtois finally scored for Canada, scoring a shot from Adam Lowry to make it 22:23. But shortly after, Comtois was ejected for a headshot from Oliver Larsen, forcing Canada to kill a five-minute penalty.
They did, but ultimately allowed the next goal. With the score at 52-11, a shot from Mathias Bau found the target between Chris Driedger’s legs to make it 3-1 and restore Denmark’s two-goal lead. Four minutes later, Ryan Graves reduced the lead to one with a slap shot, allowing Canada to up the pressure and draw Driedger to end the game. Unfortunately for Canada, they couldn’t find a way to beat Sebastian Dahm again and Denmark held on to a 3-2 win, one of their greatest in World Cup competitions.
Czech Republic shuts out USA to earn QF berth
Playing in the quarter-finals, the Czech Republic now have a chance to win Group B after beating the United States 1-0 on Monday.
Karel Veljmelka stopped all 24 shots sent his way while the US made 15 stops.
The only goal was a breakaway on the Czechs’ first shot, with Matej Blumel hitting the puck just in time after a pass from Hynek Zohorna to defeat Swayman with a breakaway backhand to make it 1-0.
There is still a chance for Czech Republic to win the group if Latvia beat Sweden and Czech Republic beat Finland on Tuesday. For the US, a win for Latvia and a loss for the Americans against Norway would knock them out of the group.
1. Thomas Raffl, F (AUT): Raffl’s hard work set up the equalizer and then he later scored the winner. What a hassle.
2. Sebastian Dahm, G (DEN): Dahm has been in the net for many big wins for Denmark and this one will be one of the biggest as the team chases a place in the Quarters.
3. Karel Vejmelka, G (CZE): Veljmeka’s slow start to the tournament is all but forgotten with another shutout attempt, this time against the United States.