IIHF World Championship Division IB Croatia - The Netherlands 2-5 (2015-04-16)

Ambitious Croatia carried many a naturalised (American and Canadian) import. Like Andy Sertich, Nathan Perkovich, Andrew Murray etc. etc. The Netherlands choose an opposing strategy. Strengthening youth development and hence it carried only real Dutch players. Starting gaoltenders were for Team Croatia Mark Dekanich (one NHL-mtach for Nashville Predators) and Martijn Oosterwijk for Team The Netherlands. Nardo Nagtzaam was not in the line up for the home team. A pity that many a seat was vacant in the arena.

Disaster hit all at once for the Dutch. From the opening face off right winger Nathan Perkovich picked up the puck, side stepped a defenseman and faked his way past the netminder Oosterwijk. A flying start for Croatria scoring after only 12 seconds. Dutch fans remembered instantly the opening of the first Championship match against Lithuania. In which the opponent scored after only 11 seconds and won the match by 1-0. And on the next attack Mike Glumac passed backwards to Ryan Kinasewich in the slot. Oosterwijk managed to get a piece of the shot to prevent and early 2-0. First forward action of the Dutch was perfomred by Maarten Brekelmans. He rushed form end to end only to see his shot blocked by Dekanich. A gloomy situation arose when the Dutch were caught icing six skaters. Julian van Lijden served the penalty. But Croatia could not set up an effective powerplay due to splendid defense by a.o. Jordy van Oorschot and Dax van de Velden. With Andrew Murray in the penalty box Levi Houkes nearly let the puck hit home. Forward Steve Mason acted defenseman on the powerplay. Right after Croatia skated at full strength Kevin Bruijsten passed from behind the goalline in the slot to Tony Demelinne. And Tony bounced the puck in the net for the equalizer, 1-1 after 12.28. A hooking call against Mislav Blagus led to the 1-2 by Kevin Bruijsten (15.06). An exclusion of Erik Tummers led to a furious shot by Mike Glumac, but the save by Martijn was great. But just after Tummers returned a brilliant teamplay by Andy Sertich, Ryan Kinasewich and Andrew Murray was cashed by latter to make it a 2-2 match (19.22).

In the second period The Dutch came out flying in order to prevent an early marker against. But soon Croatia took over and they put a heavy workload on Oosterwijk's shoulder. Ronald Wurm got into the spotlight with several dangerous shots on goal, but all were stopped by Dekanich. Forward Ivan Jankovich had to serve a ten minute "unsportmanlike conduct" penalty. And a hooking (Ronald Wurm) followed by a diving show (Dominik Danaet) forced both to the sin bin. And just before the buzzer sounded a Diederick Hagemeijer shot on goal. In the corner he got hold of the rebound. Feeded Ronald Wurm in the slot, who onetimed the puck into the net for 2-3 (39.36).

In the final twenty minutes Maarten Brekelmans let a Nick de Jong shot hit home for 2-4 (42.24). Martijn Oosterwijk prevented Croatia to score in the time after. But on the other hand, the Dutch did not profit of the exclusion of Nathan Perkovich. And Croatia coach Don MacLean ordered Andy Sertich to forward position. Time ran out on Croatia and coach MacLean asked for ( and got) a Time Out. With six skaters (Mike Glumac, Andy Sertich, Ryan Kinasewich, Andrew Murray, Sasa Martinovic and Nathan Perkovich) Croatia opposed the five Dutch (Jordy van Oorschot, Steve Mason, Diederick Hagemeijer, Ivy van den Heuvel en Nick de Jong). Perkovich shot wide twice. The Dutch stood their ground and Diederick Hagemeijer scored from right wing into the empty net for 2-5 at 59.58. Mark Dekanich returned to his net for the final two seconds.

A rather unexpected win for the home side. But never the less, well deserved. They overcame their scoring disability and showed a sound play on defense. And last but not least goalie Martijn Oosterwijk perfomed heroics in goal for his side. This was officially acclaimed, for he got the nod for best player of his time. Defensman Marko Ljubic was elected for Team Croatia as best perfomer.