Kazakhstan shocks the hosts
Norway rallies back, loses in OT
It was supposed to be a big Norwegian party at the old Jordal Amfi but apaprently, nobody told told Kazakhstan that and they pushed the hosts to their heels. In the last 1.17 Norway rallied back from 3-1 to tie the game and take it to OT.
In the first shift of the 3-on-3 overtime, though, Kazakhstan's Brandon Bochenski scored the game-winner.
"It's in the details. They played a good game and capitalized on their chances," said Norway's captain Ole-Kristian Tollefsen.
Norway outshot Kazakhstan 9-5 in the first period, out-chanced them 5-0 and dominated the game for long periods at a time but Kazakhstan - whose team consists of only Barys Astana’s players - played smart and kept Norway on the outside, blocking the shots from the point and let goaltender Vitali Kolesnik take care of the rest.
"We controlled the puck, but there were too many puck races, and they had practically a five-man box in front of the net," said Norway's defenseman Jonas Holos.
Norway’s first line with Patrick Thoresen - son of head coach Petter Thoresen -, Anders Bastiansen, and Mats Zuccarello carried the play and created several chances but couldn’t beat Kolesnik.
Whatever plans Norway had for the second, they surely didn’t include Kazakhstan scoring but that’s what happened. Just 1.23 into the period Yevgeny Rymarev went around Norway’s net, and passed it behind his back, fooling both the Norwegian defenseman in front of the net and goaltender Lars Haugen so that Roman Starchenko saw nothing but the net and could score easily.
"It was unfortunate that they got the first goal and that we had to chase them," Holos said.
Norway paid it back, though, 2.25 later when Bastiansen sent a backhanded pass to Mats Zuccarello who ied the game with a wrist shot from a sharp angle.
Norway outshot Kazakhstan 20-10 in the second period, and except for the early Kazakh powerplay, the puck stayed mostly in the Kazakhstan zone. However, at 11.27 into the period, Nikita Ivanov won a faceoff in Norway’s zone, sent the puck to Kevin Dallman at the point, and his shot floated in through a lot of traffic in front of Haugen.
Three minutes later Starchenko scored his second of the night when he won a race to the puck and his wrister from a sharp angle found its way to the back of the net. Norway had their chance to get back into the game thanks to two Kazakhstan penalties at the end of the period, but they couldn’t beat Kolesnik.
The hosts got another powerplay opportunity to start the third period, but Norway couldn’t figure out a way to get to the best scoring areas even when Kazakhstan had just four skaters on the ice. Norway was 0-for-4 on powerplay tonight.
Six minutes into the period, Kolesnik hurt his leg making a save. He left the ice in obvious pain and Dmitri Malgin took his place between the pipes.
Then Norway got into some penalty trouble, and Kazakhstan go to play a minute and 50 seconds with a two-man advantage but couldn’t extend their lead.
With 1.17 remaining, Holos made it a one-goal game with a slap shot from the point. Then, with 14 secinds remaining, Bastiansen re-directed Zuccarello's hard pass to the back of the net to tie the game.
Then, just a few minutes later, Norway came crashing down from the highest of highs.
"Of course, first there was the enormous happiness and then a minute later, the biggest disappointment. But we still have a good atmosphere in the dressing room," Holos said.
Jordal Amfi, the arena, was originally built for the 1952 Olympics, as an outdoor arena, and it’s served Norwegian hockey well and the idea was to have the arena do one last Olympic favor by sending this team to the 2018 Olympics before it’s demolished in 2017.
The Norwegian Olympic dreams aren’t dead yet, but the wrecking ball is already waiting outside.
"We have a new game tomorrow, let's see what happens in the other games," Tollefsen said.
"We'll try to win our game and then hope that France cam take points from Kazakhstan so that we'll have a final against France on Sunday," Holos added.