Croatia loses goalie and game against South Korea

IIHF World Championship Division IB South Korea - Croatia 9-4 (2015-04-19)

Mislaw Blagus won the first face off. The first shot on goal is taken by Mike Glumac. The puck is gloved by goaltender Sungje Park. An Croatia was all over South Korea. But goaltender Park again denied the Balkan players. Bruno Kegalj shot was smothered by the Asian backstop. After four and a halve minutes the first attack by Team South Korea. But what a beauty. From left wing Michael Testwuide passes to Michael Swift on the right side. He fires instantly and scores. 1-0 after 4.39. This brought the Korean side to life. But Ryan Kinasewich hit the goalpost and Nathan perkovich feeded Mislav Blagus in the slot, who ricochets the puck into the net for the equilizer, 1-1 (9.39). While Igor Jacmenjak played a sound defensive game still Korea got many a chance. Wooje Sung deflected a Don Ku Lee shot just wide. A leg save by goaltender Mark Dekanich on a Hyonho Oh shot. And Sanghoon Shin messing up a golden opportunity. With Sanghoon Shin in the penalty box Korea upped their game for the powerplay. So that they easily survived the man disadvantage. A holding penalty against Bruno Kegalj provoked a heavy powerplay by the Asians, led by Kisung Kim. But after the buzzer the score was still tied at 1-1.

After Kim Wonjun was sent to the penalty box for holding Matija Milicic got two fine chances, but did not score. A fast break by Korea led to jubilation on the Asian side. The referee Jeff Ingram indicated immediately: no goal. But what had happened. At (more than) full speed Heyok Kim crashed into goaltender Mark Dekanich. For minutes Mark lay stretched on the ice. First a simple stretcher was carried onto the ice by medical staff. Soon followed by a sophisticated stretcher. And applauded by the spectators Mark was carried to hospital. Afterwards I heard the following about him by IIHF Organising Committee member Joep Meijsen:"Relatively speaking it could have been worse. He was concious and could talk back. Moreover he had feeling of being in his toes." Long before Mark was carried off back up goaltender Mate Tomljenovic started his warm-up. And at 21.45 of the match he replaced Dekanich. Andrew Murray's shot trickled past Sungje Park. And Ryan Kinasewich reacted first by pushing the puck over the goalline for 1-2 (22.58). At the other end mate Tomljenovic did not get much time to acclimatise. A first shot by Yoonhwan Kim was mastered by Mate. Sasa Martinovich received a roughing call. And 5 seconds into the powerplay Jin Hui Ahn marked the equalizer for 2-2 (24.43). He scored from the blueline into the nearside corner. The following shot on goal hit home again. Kisung Kim upped the score to 3-2 at 25.45. And after a glove save by Tomljenovic he had to surrender on a Wonjun Kim shot from the blueline (4-2 at 26.14). Minho Cho was denied by Mate at the last possible moment. The right moment Croatian coach Donald MacLean to take a Time Out (26.24). Sangwook Kim and Kisung Kim set up an attack they pas to each other and Kisung pulls the trigger, 5-2 (28.17). Ivan Jankovic is ordered to the penalty box for slashing. A shorthanded break by Andrew Murray and Ivan Brencun. The later scores at 30.10 for 5-3. Michael Testwuide rounds off the scoring in the middle stanza (6-3 at 37.34).

Well into the third period Tadija Miric was sent to the penalty box with a 2+10 penalty for checking to the head. Nathan Perkovich serves the minor penalty. First Kisung Kim hits the cross bar with his shot. Brock Radunske passes on the rebound to better positioned Wonjun Kim. Who puts the puck upstairs in the left corner, 7-3 (48.49 - PP1). With Sangwook Kim off for slashing, Ryan Kinasewich feeds defenseman Igor Jacmenjak with a diagonal pass. The wrist shot by Igor is successful, 7-4 (53.52 - PP1). Immediately thereafter Michael Testwuide puts the rebound of a Michael Swift shot into the vacated part of the goal, 8-4 after 54.13. On a break Sangwook Kim found the five hole for 9-4 (55.27). The best Croatian defenseman of the match, Igor Jacmenjak, got a major penalty and game misconduct penalty at 55.27. He tried to chop of the head of Kim at the goal attempt. So Croatia had to kill the penalty the remainder of the encounter. And again Nathan Perkovich had to sit out a penalty for a teammate. But Croatia stood their ground. But not without Sasa Martinovic attacking Wooje Sung who he fisted down. A match penalty for Sasa. And for 15 seconds Ivan Brencun had to sit out the major penalty for the evicted Martinovic. For the match came to an end.

A high energy match with end to end action. Executed at high speed. And possible the best match of the entire tournament. Pity for the incident with goaltender Dekanich, otherwise Croatia may have upset the Asian side. Defenseman Hyunsoo Kim was named best player of his time. While felon Igor Jacmenjak received the honours for Team Croatia. His teammate Tadija Miric picked up the prizes for him. And obviously Nathan Perkovich and Michael Swift are acquaintances for they had lots to talk about after the handshake.