France moves out of danger
by Andrew PODNIEKS|14 MAY 2024
photo: Matt Zambonin/IIHF
Justin Addamo netted two first-period goals to pace France to a vital 4-2 win over Poland tonight in Ostrava. The three points takes France out of a last-place tie with the Poles and launches them into a tie for fourth place with the United States. Poland remains last with only one point to show from three games.

"It was a good game for us," said French captain Sacha Treille. "We started it the right way, and that helped us the rest of the way. They came back hard in the end of the second and the third, but overall we did a good job. We're satisfied with the three points. In our first two games, we battled hard but didn't get many points in the standings."

"It's one of the games we knew we had to win, but we have as our goal to stay in then top pool, and after that who knows what we can do?" Treille continued. "So far, so good. It's a tight group, and if we play the right way, we feel we can beat anybody."

The French got just the start they wanted thanks to a timely burst of speed midway through the first period from Addamo. He opened the scoring at 8:47 driving down the right wing and beating John Murray with a backhand that squeaked between his pads.

Less than three minutes later, Addamo scored a more inelegant goal, but it counted all the same. He put his big body near the blue ice, and when defender Yohann Auvitu snapped a wrist shot from the point it bounced off Addamo’s chest and in. 

It looked like France would run away with the game in the second. They made it 3-0 on an early power play when Stephane da Costa’s high wrist shot to the short side fooled Murray, and soon after Polish coach Robert Kalaber pulled Murray in favour of Tomas Fucik, making his debut with the team. 

The change didn’t matter much, it seemed, as France made it 4-0 soon after, again on the power play. This time da Costa was the set-up man, feathering a nice pass in front to Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who re-directed the puck past Fucik.

But late in the period the Poles came to life thanks to a miscue by French goalie Sebastian Ylonen. He fumbled the puck behind his goal, and it came out front where Dominik Pas snapped it in at 16:08. And then Fucik made the save of the tournament. Down and out, he twisted around and dove back to make a glove save off a sure goal for da Costa.

Inspired, Poland scored again, this time off a faceoff in their own end. They broke out quickly, and Bartosz Fraszko beast Ylonen under the glove at 17:39 to make a game of it.

Poland had the better of play most of the third, but France played well enough inside their line to hold on and win, setting themselves up not only for a trip to the top pool for 2025 but perhaps even a quarter-finals berth this year. 
Poland vs France - 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship