Ukraine goes to Denmark with a swing

Ukraine goes to Denmark with a swing

12 Nov 2012 | Davide Tuniz

Home team clears last Polish hurdle and advance to Olympic qualification finals in Vojens next February

Twenty-two goals scored in three games and one suffered: Ukraine cleans out the Olympic Qualification tournament at home and now is one-step away from Sochi: last challenge the final Tournament next February in Vojens, Denmark, against host, Belarus and Slovenia. Aleksandr Kulikov team closed with a perfect record its duty against Spain (7-0), Estonia (10-0) and today against the most dangerous opponenet, Poland, smashed 5-1 in front of 6.000 spectators. Audience was another victory for home hockey, finally fans are back after many years of unconcern. Poland come to final challenge with a negative tradition: just 2 victories in 24 games against Ukraine, but following a positive 2-2 in last match played in Kyiv in 2009. And the start of the game was very promising for Poles: goal by Dariusz Gruszka (the first ever suffered by home team) and a 5vs3 situation not capitalized when Aleksandr Materukhin received a major penalty. When Ukraine has power play opportunity, the game changed: Vitali Lyutkevich equalized at 18.53 and another three goals were scored with a man advantage. Ruslan Fedotenko has a good performance serving 2 assists as well the another star Aleksei Ponikarovsky (one assist) but once more the main character was Sergei Varlamov, Ukraine's key player and awarded as Best Player of the Tournament. Now fans obviously hope that NHLers can play also in February tournament. “I don’t know what will happen tomorrow,” Fedotenko said. “With me or without me I feel the team is playing pretty well and I’m confident they will be successful.”

In the afternoon Spain won 5-4 its "vs normal team" game against Estonia, closing the tournament avoiding a forecasted last place. Young Puigcerdà forward Oriol Boronat was the star of the game scoring an hattrick: “We played well and won today. That’s cool,” said Boronat “It was my first time I played in the Olympic Qualification, so it was a good experience.” Estonia had a great comeback in last period when Baltic team scored three goals recovering from 1-4 to 4-4, but the last Boronat goal at 59:24 closed a  waek campaign for Estonia.
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