Norway Sends South Korea Back to Division IA

Norway Sends South Korea Back to Division IA

Steven Ellis14 May 2018Steven Ellis»

Norway's 3-0 victory on Monday at the 2018 World Championships means South Korea will be relegated after finishing without a victory in their first time up.


Norway's 3-0 victory on Monday at the 2018 World Championships means South Korea will be relegated after finishing without a victory in their first time up.

The first period was South Korea's best, even getting a goal that would later be called off due to goalie interference. But at 13:35, Norway took advantage of a too many men on the ice penalty from the Koreans by having Tobias Lindstrom score off of a Mathis Olimb feed, with Lindstrom's first national team goal giving the favoured Norwegians the 1-0 lead.

Korea started off with eight shots in the first period, tying Norway in that category. Their second period saw them trail 12-6, while also getting pummeled in the faceoff category. Goaltender Matt Dalton, one of Korea's best players for a few years now, was on the top of his game, even though many of the shots he had to face weren't of high quality. He did have to make a big stop in the dying seconds of the middle frame, however, kicking away a last-second deflection from Martin Røymark to keep the game sitting at 1-0.

Scoring twice was going to be a tough task for Korea. In three exhibition contests against Norway, South Korea had only scored more than one goal once, back in 2016. They had played six total games since their last two-goal game, an exhibition contest against Germany in April. It got worse when at 6:55 in the third period, Anders Bastiansen fought off a pair of defenders before squeaking the puck between the skates of Alex Plante and on to Thomas Valkvæ Olsen's stick. Olsen would easily tap one blocker side on Dalton, giving Norway the 2-0 lead. Jan Holos would score his first of the tournament midway through the third to give Norway a 3-0 lead, an advantage they would never relinquish.

The loss was South Korea's 15th straight loss in men's competition, dating back to exhibition games prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics. While the team was relegated this year, it capped off a year that saw them play in the Olympics and top World Championship tournament in the same season, the first time the team has participated in either event. South Korea has played in Division IA four times previously, getting relegated once, just avoiding relegation twice and getting promoted last year. With South Korea and Belarus going to Division IA, Great Britain and Italy will make their long-awaited returns in their place.

For Norway, this was the sixth straight year that the country missed the tournament playoffs, but this was their first year getting just a single win at the tournament since 2008. Norway's team has the third oldest average age of any team in the tournament, trailing just Denmark and South Korea with an average age of 27.96.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

Photo by Joe Klamar/AFP

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