Who will stop Lithuania?

Who will stop Lithuania?

Davide Tuniz25 Apr 2018Davide Tuniz»

Home team easily crushed Japan and seems destined to earn the promotion


And now who will stop Lithuania? Also Japan can’t resist to the enthusiasm of the home team pushed by the support of a Zalgiris Arena packed and ready to celebrate every success of the team, lead by German Bernd Haake on the bench, but by two legends of hockey as Darius Kasparaitis and Dainius Zubrus on the ice, a charismatic presence that exalts all the players. The begin of the game is traumatic for Japan, down by two after 4 minutes and overpowered by the waves of Lithuanian attack. At 02:30 Edgar Rybakov opens the score with a nice wrap-around, two minutes after Mark Kaleinikovas steal the puck in the neutral zone, his shot is deflected on the post by Fukufuji for the easy tap in of Arnoldas Bosas in the empty net. Yuji Iwamoto team gives a vital sign after 6 minutes on power play: Makuru Furuhashi calls Armalis to a difficult save. At minute 7 Fukufuji rebounds on Krakauskas, one minute later Furuhashi again tries to open the score for Japan but Armalis is reactive in deflecting the insidious shot in the traffic.

At minute 12 Japan benefits from a double superiority, very well killed by Lithuania on the ice and the crowd in the stands with an incredible noise. Home team closes the period in the Fukufuji zone without remarkable chances.

In the second period Lithuania needs a power play and a very smart pass by Zubrus to treble the score: former NHLer finds Arnoldas Bosas in the right position to shot with no chances for Fukufuji. The fourth goal scored by Povilas Verenis comes with a bit of luck: the shot by Tadas Kumeliauskas is blocked by Fukufuji with a great save with the puck remaining on the goal line for the finalization of Verenis.

Backing on the ice more aggressive, Japan taking advantage from a mistake in neutral zone quickly scores after 40 seconds in the third period with an easy finishing by Ryo Hashimoto and has a couple of chances right after the goal well neutralized by Armalis. In the best momentum of Asian team, Lithuania bit again with a superb move by Tadas Kumeliauskas, his shot is rebounded by Fukufuji but same number 17 recovers the puck behind the cage to serve an easy tap in for Daniel Bogdzuil. At 55:42 Arnoldas Bosas seals his fantastic night scoring the sixth goal for Lithuania with a personal move. Then it’s just a collective party until the final siren.

Yuki Miura: “Lithuania is certainly a good team, but we didn’t play well, that’s for sure. We tried, we had a couple of good chances, but we couldn’t convert it. There are two more games remaining, the first place is four points far, but we will fight until the last minute.”

Arnoldas Bosas: “Tonight it wasn’t so easy as could appeared, Japan fiought a lot. Our dream is a little bit closer but we have to be concentrated, nothing is stll decided yet”

Bernd Haake: "We know Japan is a good team, we played last year in Belfast and I was impressed, they are very strong and professional, but tonight the heart and the hockey was in the air in Lithuania"

MVP: Hiroto Sato – Mantas Armalis

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