International Ice Hockey Federation

Austria does it in SO

Koreans surprise but blow 2-0 lead

Published 23.04.2016 23:31 GMT+2 | Author Martin Merk
Austria does it in SO
Austrian forward Konstantin Komarek, who scored the shootout winner, with the puck followed by Korea’s Minho Cho. Photo: Miroslaw Ring
Like in 2014 Korea started with a lead against Austria but continued its winless history against this opponent due to Konstantin Komarek’s shootout-winner.

Austria outshot Korea 39-28 but didn’t score a goal for two periods before fighting back late in the game.

“We had enough very good scoring chances but we didn’t score the goals. We could as well have scored two goals in the first two periods but the puck didn’t go in, we hit the post and the crossbar but luckily that changed in the last period,” Komarek said.

“In the third period we were more fortunate and scored goals on two not that big scoring chances. We have to work on our scoring efficiency.”

“Korea is not a bad team, you may not underestimate them. They have some Canadians who are great hockey players and also native players who are good players and play fast. “

Korea started the game more successful. Michael Swift intercepted a pass close to the Austrian blueline at 16:05, escaped for a breakaway and beat Austrian goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum on the right side.

It was a lucky punch but not entirely undeserved. The underdogs had their chances too in a first period in which Austria outshot the Koreans 10-9 and the centres of Korea’s first three lines – Kisung Kim, Minho Cho and Woosang Park – won most of the face-offs.

For the contingent of Korean fans at the arena, who were supporting their team with a gong and other traditional instruments for an acoustic Korean feeling at Spodek, there was plenty to celebrate after the first 20 minutes of the game.

The game continued with scoring chances on both sides in the middle frame. Midway through the period Austria coach Daniel Ratushny took his time-out when his team had the biggest opportunity with a 5-on-3. However, the Austrians didn’t make use of the first two Korean penalties of the game and two minutes later the puck went in on the other side.

Sangwook Kim sent a drop pass from the end boards to Kisung Kim, who stickhandled the puck around Starkbaum for the 2-0 goal at 15:50. The goal scorer celebrated lying down on his back and must have felt a little bit like Polish forward Wieslaw Jobczyk 40 years ago when scoring his hat trick against the Soviets at the same venue with a mixture of joy and disbelief.

After all, Korea had never beaten Austria before. In the only previous Division I games they lost two years ago on home ice in Goyang 7-4 – after a 3-0 lead after nine minutes of play – and in 2008 8-0.

Austria eventually found back into the game when Korea got into penalty trouble early in the third period. After a shot from the left face-off circle from Brian Lebler, it was Markus Schlacher, who capitalized on the rebound to make it 2-1 on a two-man advantage with over 15 minutes to go in regulation time.

“We took too many penalties,” said Matt Dalton, the Canada-born goaltender who had his debut in the Korean net. “We went 5-on-3 twice tonight. When you go 5-on-3 it’s asking for trouble. It was difficult. It’s hockey.”

“I wished we would have pulled out a win but I think it’s a good start, we need to build on it. We have to get a rest and get ready for tomorrow. We simply need to play our game and see what happens.”

The Austrians were looking for the game-tying goal but had trouble creating good chances. With seven minutes left the Koreans even had the opportunity to score their third goal when Swift got the puck on a giveaway but the Austrians got the situation under control and Sanghoon Shin missed out with his shot.

With 3:55 left in regulation time the favourites were eventually rewarded for their effort with the 2-2 goal. Manuel Geier’s shot hit defenceman Wonjun Kim, who had to leave the ice, and when the puck bounced back Geier scored on his second attempt.

The game remained tied even after a five-minute overtime period and a shootout had to decide the winner. A patient Komarek became the only of the five shooters to hit the back of the net.

“I’ve done some penalty shots before and luckily I was rewarded for my bravery,” he said about the game-winning goal.

Penalty Shot Shootout
Round 1: KOR Michael Swift – save, AUT Konstantin Komarek – 0-1.
Round 2: KOR Sanghoon Shin – miss, AUT Manuel Geier – save.
Round 3: KOR Sangwook Kim – miss.