WC Div 3Q: Bosnia and Turkmenistan win on Day 1

WC Div 3Q: Bosnia and Turkmenistan win on Day 1

26 Feb 2018 | Derek O’Brien

Turkmenistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina were the winners on the first day of the qualifying tournament for the IIHF World Championship Division III. Turkmenistan opened play with a 4-0 shutout of the United Arab Emirates, followed by the hosts’ 8-1 victory over Kuwait in the nightcap in Sarajevo.

In the win, the Bosnians got two goals from captain Dino Cordalija in the first period, then broke the game open with three power-play goals in the second period – two of which coming on Salem Alajmi’s major penalty for slashing. The Bosnians scored four power-play goals altogether and Mirza Omer led they scoring parade with two goals and two assists.

"That’s the best we’ve played defensively in any game so far and our big guns scored the goals when they needed to, so that made me very happy," said Bosnian head coach Brian Jokat.

With the score 8-0, Kuwaiti captain Mohammad Alajmi broke Edis Pribisic’s shutout by scoring on a breakaway with 3:23 left to play.

Bosnia's 5-0 goal vs Kuwait. They eventually won 8-1.

 Jokat explained: “We were playing everybody and some guys were cold off the bench. It was a bad giveaway and I’m never happy about that. It would have been nice to get Eddie the zero, but overall I’m happy with the way the guys played.”

An enthusiastic gathering of 1100 cheered the home team to victory. This was the first time an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina has ever hosted an IIHF event and the first time the Juan Antonio Samaranch Olympic Arena had hosted since the 1984 Winter Olympics, when Sarajevo was part of Yugoslavia.

"Hockey’s been away from here for a while so it’s not easy to bring everybody back,” Jokat said of the fans in Sarajevo. "They were loud and I hope to see more of them tomorrow.”

Earlier in the day, Turkmenistan was just as dominant against the United Arab Emirates with a decisive edge in play and a 40-10 shots advantage overall, but it took them until the 35th minute before Ilyas Veliyev finally got them on the board. They added three more goals in the third period for the 4-0 win, with Keremli Charyyev picking up the shutout. Alexander Vahovskiy and Amangeldi Aganiyazov collected two points each.

Bosnia and Turkmenistan will now switch opponents on Monday, with Turkmenistan facing Kuwait in the early game and the UAE facing the hosts later on. If they both win again, they will face each other on Wednesday with advancement to Division III on the line.

"We’ve got stronger competition coming up and we’ve got a couple guys banged up, so we’ve gotta get some rest and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow," said Jokat, looking ahead.
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