By Dhiren Mahiban – IIHF.com
Kazakhstan avoided relegation defeating Denmark 4-0 on Friday at the IIHF World Junior Championship. The Kazakhs edged the Danes 4-3 in the first game of the best-of-three relegation round on Wednesday to keep their spot in the top group for the 2020 tournament.
Captain Sayan Daniyar and forward Davyd Makutski had first period goals for Kazakhstan while goaltender Demid Yeremeyev made 25 saves for his first shutout of the tournament.
Danish starting goaltender Mads Soegaard allowed two goals on the first two shots he faced and was replaced by William Rorth, who stopped 12 shots in relief.
Denmark pulled Rorth with 2:46 remaining in the third looking for a pair of goals to force the game into overtime, but Artur Gatiyatov added his fourth goal of the tournament into an empty net for Kazakhstan with 1:32 remaining. He then added a second empty-net goal with 54.1 seconds left to make it 4-0.
The 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic will be the seventh time Kazakhstan plays in the top group. They played in the top division from 1998-2001 and in 2008 and 2009 prior to this year’s event.
The loss relegates Denmark to the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A while Germany, who won the Division IA last month, will be promoted to the top group and take Denmark’s spot for 2020.
Sayan Daniyar opened the scoring 35 seconds into the first period. The Kazakh forward was attempting a wraparound and put the puck in off of Soegaard’s stick and into the net for his second goal of the tournament.
Makutski doubled Kazakhstan’s lead at 3:47 of the opening frame putting a loose puck over the glove of Soegaard for his first of the World Junior Championship.
Makutski’s goal chased Soegaard from the Danish goal. The 18-year-old netminder allowed two goals on the first two shots he faced and was replaced by Rorth.
Denmark’s offence continued to be an issue on Friday. Entering the second game of the relegation round the Danes had scored in just one of five games.
The Danes out-shot the Kazakhs 10-4 in the opening 20 minutes, but had nothing to show for it.
Emil Marcussen had Denmark’s best chance of the period at 11:46, but couldn’t beat Yeremeyev. Gustav Green found Marcussen alone in the slot, but Yeremeyev made a big glove save on the one-timer.
Despite out-shooting Kazakhstan 9-7 and having the only two power play chances of the second period, Denmark was unable to solve Yeremeyev.
Denmark defeated Belarus in the relegation round at the World Junior Championship in Buffalo last year. The loss demotes them to Division IA for the first time since 2014.