One of the biggest games on the schedule for Kazakhstan took place on Friday as the newly promoted country took on the shaky Americans in an important game. For USA, disappointing losses to Russia and Latvia seemed to deplete any possible domination away from the Americans, while Kazakhstan had nothing to lose in their quest to stay alive for another year. After a very entertaining contest which saw the Kazakh’s take the lead twice, the Americans eventually prevailed in a nail biting overtime 4-3 overtime victory to improve to 2-1-0-2 after five games of action.
The Americans had a horrendous start to the game. After taking four straight penalties in the opening 14 minutes, Roman Starchenko’s blast from the point beat a screened Tim Thomas to snag the surprising 1-0 lead early. With Alexei Litvinenko in the box for Kazakhstan, the Americans would score a goal of their own when Craig Smith beat Alexi Ilanov to tie the game up before the first period came to a close.
Konstantin Romanov would get his team back in the lead when a Konstantin Romanov goal a minute into the second beat a screened Tim Thomas to make it 2-1 Kazakhstan. With the Americans in desperate need of a goal to get back into the game, they actually ended up scoring twice to take the lead in the second period of action. First, Seth Jones rocketed a slapshot from the point that Alexei Ivanov had no chance of saving in the Kazakhstan crease. Later in the game, defenseman Matt Donavan’s ripper from the blue line allowed he Americans to take their first lead of the contest.
Kazakhstan was able to bounce back and tie the game up again with eight minutes remaining. Roman Starchenko’s second of the game made the American’s look even desperate in a must win game to secure third place in their pool. The game would require overtime, where, after multiple opportunites to break through in a very one sided extra frame, Jones would break the tiebreak to give the Americans the 4-3 victory.
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