Final olympic qualification tournament 2016 at Jordal Amfi, Oslo Photo: Foto Norden AS / Arve BjerkÃ¥sholmen
Starchenko's late game-winner against Italy
Roman Starchenko became Kazakhstan's hero as he scored the game-winner with 3:48 remaining. Kazakhstan beat Italy 3-2.
Roman Starchenko's goal with less than four minutes remaining in the game lifted Kazakhstan to a 3-2 win over Italy in the last game of the Olympic qualification tournament in Oslo.
Vitali Kolesnik made 13 saves for Kazakhstan who grabbed third place. Italy finished fourth.
Steven Pressfield, author of, for example, The Legend of Bagger Vance, has said that “The difference between being an amateur and a professional is that professionals do the work even when they don't feel like it.” Amateurs only produce good work when they’re so inspired.
For a hockey player, showing up for a game that has no bearing in the standings at 11.30 in the morning is the true test of a professional attitude. Both Kazakhstan and Italy passed it today at the Jordal Amfi in Oslo, even if both teams surely had even more to give.
"We're professional hockey players and we have to be ready to play a game like this, even if they wake us up at two in the morning," said Kazakhstan's Maxim Khudyakov.
As for Kazakhstan, a team with only Barys Astana players on it, it also provided another good test for the rest of the season, he added.
"We were close, and we played well but we'll have to take this as a good test for the World Championships in May," said Italy's goaltender Andreas Bernard who finished the game for Italy.
Italy scored the important first goal of the game early in the game after Kazakhstan had a long possession in the Italian zone creating a couple of good chances. When Italy regained possession of the puck, they played it first quickly out of the zone and then Anton Bernard sent a long pass to Giulio Scandella who fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. His shot hit a Kazakhstan defenseman’s stick on the way and fooled Vitali Kolesnik Kazakhstan’s goal at 6.47 into the first period.
In the next shift, Italy’s Simon Kostner took a high sticking minor and Kazakhstan’s powerplay got to work. Alexander Shin played the puck to Yevgeni Rymarev behind the net and his pass found Maxim Khudyakov who drove towards the net and fired a slapshot that Italy’s goaltender Frederic Cloutier couldn’t stop, to tie the game at 8.51.
Halfway through the game, Kazakhstan had taken command of it, and could take the lead when Brandon Bochenski won a puck battle in the corner, cycled it with Alexander Shin who sent it back to Bochenski at the far post, and he could fairly easily exploit Italy’s mental lapse - four skaters were in the corner - and score Kazakhstan’s second goal at 8.42 into the period.
But with 65 seconds remaining in the period, Tommaso Traversa tied the game again with a nice deflection off Stefano Marchetti’s perfect slapshot of a pass from the point.
And then, with 3.48 remaining, a shot from the poin, hit the side of Italy's net and then bounced back from the end boards from the same side as the shot had come from, which threw off Andreas Bernard, and Starchenko had an easy job to lift the puck to the back of the net.
Italy pulled goaltender Bernard with a minute remaining in the game, and pushed hard to get a third goal, put couldn't tie the game.