First win for Korea
by Andy Potts|02 MAY 2023
Korean captain Don Ku Li (#61) reacts after Yoon Seok Kang (#92) puts his team 2-1 up on Romania in a World Championship Division IA game in Nottingham, Great Britain.
photo: Karl Denham
Korea picked up its first victory of the World Championship Division IA campaign, defeating Romania 5-2 to reinvigorate its chances of staying at this level. Yoon Seok Kang's and Sihwan Kim scored their first goals at this level. There were further tallies from Sanghoon Shin, Jungwoo Jeon and Jin Kyu Park to get the Koreans off the mark in style. Romania tied the game in the first period on an Andrei Filip marker but struggled to contain the opposition.

Today’s result moves the Koreans to three points, level with Romania. Lithuania, which plays Britain this evening, is without a win from its opening two games.

Meanwhile, Romania came into the game full of optimism after getting a win over Lithuania. After arriving in Nottingham with a simple target of staying in this division, Sunday’s battling 3-2 success gave the Romanians hope of achieving something greater this week.

The early exchanges favoured the Koreans. Overmatched in the first two games, this was the first encounter in which the Asian could regard itself as a potential winner. The changed circumstances gave Korea a psychological lift and the team made a bright start. The opening goal, which arrived on the power play on 4:52, was well deserved. Some crisp passing involving Young Jun Lee and Jin Kyu Park found Sanghoon Shin in the left-hand circle. Shin, the only player on this roster based outside of Korea, swiftly dispatched that chance to put his country ahead for the first time in the tournament.

At that team, Romania was still waiting for its first shot at Matt Dalton. Gradually, though, Julius Penzes’ team came into the game. A second Korean power play was more notable for Mircea Constantin’s breakaway chance than any threat from the PP unit at the other end. Then, shortly after returning to full strength, Csanad Fodor won a puck battle in the corner and moved play to Andrei Filip. He moved the puck to the right-hand dot and found the top corner while Balazs Gajdo screened Dalton’s view.

Against Lithuania, Romania recovered from early adversity to secure a comeback victory. But Korea was not interested in repeating that story. Early in the second period we saw how smooth, speedy skating could unlock the Romanian defence. Korean captain Don Ku Lee won possession deep in his own territory and cruised to the other end of the ice. Patrik Polc got behind his shot, but allowed a big rebound and Kang buried the rebound to claim his first goal in World Championship play.

The Romanians struggled to reproduce the intensity they showed against Lithuania, managing just five shots at Dalton in a sluggish second period. Korea’s defence often found itself able to carry the puck a long way, and when Ingyo Oh did that it led to a third goal. He was eventually caught in possession, but managed to win the puck back from Alpar Sallo and that turnover presented the unmarked Jungwoo Jeon with the chance to make it 3-1 in the 37th minute.

There was little change in the game in the third period, with Korea effectively cutting off Romania's passing and shooting lanes. At the other end, a too many men penalty brought a second power play goal. Park added to his earlier assist when he rifled home a one-timer from the left-hand circle after another neat passing play. 

Sihwan Kim added a fifth for Korea when he batted home a loose puck from close range. That belately roused the Romanians, and Matyas Kovacs maintained his record of a goal in each game here to make the final score a bit more respectable.