By Ilyas Omarov – Astana Times
The preliminary games of the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship has become one of the most sensational in the modern history of hockey. It was pleasant that the national team of Kazakhstan became one of the success stories of the championships.
The Kazakhstan national ice hockey team finished the world championship in fifth place in Group B, one step away from the quarter finals. In seven games of the group stage, the national team of Kazakhstan won 4 games, of which two – in regular time and two more – in a shoot-out.
Kazakh players set a record In the sixth game of the Ice Hockey World Championship, the national team of Kazakhstan defeated the Italian team with a crushing score of 11-3. This result was the largest victory at the world championship. The team scored recorded the most points at this tournament than during the entire time of participation in the world elite championships since it’s Independence.
Previously, at the world championships, Kazakhstan won a maximum of one game. For the first time in its history, the team managed to record 10 tournament points (before, the group scored no more than two). For the first time, Kazakh team managed to beat the reigning world champions (Finland 2-1SO). For the first time, Kazakhstan won 11:3 This result is the biggest win in tournament history.
The list of records also includes the most goals 22. Kazakhstan have never finish in fifth place in the modern format of the group stage.
This achievement can even be slightly compared when Kazakhstan national team went to the quarterfinals at the White Olympics in Nagano in 1998.
At the World Championships 2021, the national team of Kazakhstan for the first time in many years ceased to be a team, which continuously runs between the hockey elite and the first division.
In this regard, it is necessary to pay attention to the opinion of the legend of Finnish hockey player, and former professional ice hockey winger and a five-time Stanley Cup champion, who was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history, Jari Kurri, who noted before the World Championship that Kazakhstan is able to surprise at the World Championships.
Later some foreign experts noted that the team of Kazakhstan played over its head and played beyond its capabilities.
A pleasant discovery was the play of the national team goalkeeper Nikita Boyarkin, defender Ivan Stepanenko, Darren Dietz and Jesse Blacker played reliably in defense. Veteran Alexander Shin helped the team a lot. Nikita Mikhailis showed his finesse and fast skating hockey. Team captain Roman Starchenko confirmed his reputation. Artem Likhotnikov’s goal became one of the top 10 in the championship.
Of course, it is necessary to note the great contribution of the coaching staff headed by Yuri Mikhailis.
Next year, the national team of Kazakhstan will again go to the World Ice Hockey Championship, which is planned to be held in Helsinki and Tampere.
Hopefully, the performance of Kazakh hockey players on the Finnish ice will become even more successful in 2022.