Mongolia strikes gold in Kuwait
by Chris JUREWICZ|21 APR 2024
photo: © International Ice Hockey Federation
Critical win of tournament for Mongolians came versus host Kuwaitis at the IIHF World Championship Division 4

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait – The top three scorers at the recent IIHF World Championship Division 4 all came from the host Kuwaiti team.

Ilia Drozdetskikh led the way with seven goals and 10 assists in three games for the high-powered Kuwait offence, with Ali Alsarraf (5-11—16) and Bojan Zidarevic (9-6—15) close behind in the scoring race.

Yet, despite the incredible offensive numbers posted by the Kuwaitis, they came up just short in their bid to win the World Championship Division 4, losing a critical round-robin game 5-2 to Mongolia on April 18. It was the Mongolians, who ran the table with a perfect 3-0 record, who struck gold on Kuwaiti ice.

Although all three wins were needed for gold, it was the 5-2 victory over Kuwait that stands out most. In that one, Gerelt Ider opened the scoring in the first period for Mongolia and Tsengel Undarmaa added another to make it 2-0 for the Mongolians just over five minutes. Kuwait cut into the lead two minutes later with a power play goal by Abdulrazaq Aldaei.

Ider would score his second of the game midway through the second to make it 3-1 Mongolia, a score that held through 40 minutes.

Drozdetskikh scored to make it 3-2 early in the third but that was as close as the Kuwaitis would get, with Batorovich and Chinzolboo Mishigsuren scoring later in the third to ice the win for Mongolia.

Mongolia opened Worlds with a 9-3 win over Indonesia, then beat Kuwait before defeating Malaysia 14-2.

Kuwait, meanwhile, trounced Malaysia 15-1 in the tournament opener for those teams. Kuwait’s third and final game was a close one, with the hosts eventually beating Indonesia 8-7.

The final standings had Mongolia at 3-0, good for gold, with the silver medal going to Kuwait (2 wins, 1 loss), and bronze going to Indonesia, which finished with two losses and an overtime win over Malaysia, which finished fourth.

The best players, as selected by the IIHF Directorate, were as follows:
  • Best goalkeeper – Adam Barvik (Kuwait)
  • Best defender – Batu Batorovich (Mongolia)
  • Best forward – Bojan Zidarevic (Kuwait)