From IIHF News@1:266/404 to All on Sat Apr 28 13:19:14 2018
With a tie not helping either team first Slovenia then Italy both pulled their goalie for a sixth skater. Diego Kostner scored the game-winner for Italy.
It was one of these curious moments in this tournament where all six teams are close and five teams remained in contention for promotion with two games left. Now only four teams are left as Italy beat Slovenia 4-3. Because only a regulation-time victory would help either team both pulled their goalies when it was 3-3 in the last minute to battle for the game-winner. Diego Kostner got it for Italy with 2.3 seconds left before the buzzer.
While Slovenia missed promotion, Italy now has to hope for a favourable outcome
in the last game. If Great Britain gets at least one point against Hungary, the
British and Italy will go up to the top division. If Hungary beats Great Britain in regulation time, there will be a four-team tie for first place with Kazakhstan and Hungary earning promotion.
For Italy it was the first win against Slovenes in 27 years. Since 2010 Slovenia has always been ranked before Italy whenever the teams played in the same division. Italy had never beaten Slovenia in men's World Championship play. The best result was a 3-3 tie at the 2006 Worlds in Latvia. The last win dates back to times when Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia and Italy won on the opponent's soil in Ljubljana 13-3.
Italy had the luckier start into the game. When Bostjan Golicic was sent to the
penalty box for holding in the first minute of play the Azzurri converted their
first power play. Diego Kostner saw Markus Gander free on the left side, who one-timed the puck top-shelf for the opening marker at 1:39.
Slovenia made pressure but didn't have luck with their shots until 17:11 when Matic Podlipnik was fortunate with his shot from the left boards that went through Marco de Filippo Roia's five-hole to make it 1-1.
Slovenia got its first lead early in the second period during a power play. Jan
Urbas sent a horizontal pass to the left side where Rok Ticar converted it with
a top-shelf shot at 3:55. But also the lynx's lead was only short-lived joy once Italy had its next power play. With the penalty almost expired, Michael Sullivan skated himself free on the right of the net and tied the game at two.
Of course that wasn't enough for either team and in an open game it was the Italians who scored next after killing a penalty. Ivan Deluca on the left side skated around Aleksandar Magovac to skate to the crease. Gasper Kroselj blocked
the shot but Alex Trivellato scored on the rebound.
The goal still didn't define the direction of the gam as with 68 seconds left the Slovenes came back when Sabahudin Kovacevic sent off another hammer of a shot from the blueline - the third goal of the tournament for the defenceman.
Both teams had their scoring chances in the third period to with a shot advantage for Slovenia but Italy having a post shot with eight minutes left in regulation time.
Slovenia got its big chance when Italy's Luca Felicetti lost a puck battle with
Ken Ograjensek and was assessed a penalty for high-sticking. Slovenia took its time-out but had trouble setting up its power play.
The teams entered the last minute with a tie, which would finish the dream of promotion for both teams and send Kazakhstan up instead. The Slovenes were the first team to be brave enough and pull their goalie, then Italy pulled their goalie too in order to play 6-on-6!
The teams didn't give each other anything and eventually the Italians had the puck in the last seconds of the game. While their goalie was on his way out to make room for a sixth skater, Diego Kostner scored the game-winner into the empty net with 2.3 seconds left on the game clock!
Slovenia has now missed out on promotion in Division I play for the first time since 2009 while the Italians will have to cheer on Great Britain in the last game.