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(Olympics) S. Korea shuts out Kazakhstan in men's hockey tune-up game

2018/02/05 23:35

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INCHEON, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea defeated Kazakhstan 3-0 in an Olympic men's hockey tune-up game on Monday to snap its losing streak at seven games.

Forwards Mike Testwuide, Park Woo-sang and Michael Swift had one goal apiece for 21st-ranked South Korea, at Seonhak International Ice Rink in Incheon, as the team enjoyed its first victory since last April. It was a nice bounce-back performance for South Korea after losing to the same Kazakhstan team 3-1 on Saturday.

This was the second of four games in the buildup to the PyeongChang Olympics for South Korea, which will play its opening match on Feb. 15 against the sixth-ranked Czech Republic.

South Korea will next face No. 15 Slovenia at 7 p.m. Thursday at Seonhak. Then at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10, South Korea will host world No. 2 Russia at Anyang Ice Arena in Anyang, about 20 kilometers south of Seoul.

South Korea looked rather sluggish in losing to Kazakhstan only two days earlier, but put forth much more determined efforts on both ends on Monday.

After an evenly-played, scoreless first period, South Korea opened the scoring 1:17 into the second period, when Testwuide tipped in a point shot by Kim Won-jun.

South Korean goalie Matt Dalton was rock-solid in net, turning aside one Kazakhstan shot after another to keep his team ahead by one.

With South Korea nursing the narrow lead and Kazakhstan fighting hard for an equalizer, captain Park Woo-sang scored the insurance goal with 7:12 left. After securing the loose puck between the face-off circles, Park snapped a shot past goalie Dmitriy Malgin as he fell to the ice.

Kazakhstan's hope of a comeback was dashed with 1:42 left in the third period, when Roman Rachinskiy was assessed a penalty and put South Korea on a power play for the rest of the game.

And Swift rounded out the scoring during that power play, with a slap shot past Malgin from the right slot.

In the Olympic men's tournament, South Korea has been paired with Canada, world No. 1 and the two-time reigning Olympic champion, along with No. 6 Czech Republic and No. 7 Switzerland in Group A.

The host nation's first game is against the Czech Republic at 9:10 p.m. on Feb. 15, followed by Switzerland at 4:40 p.m. on Feb. 17. Then at 9:10 p.m. the following day, South Korea will face Canada. All games will take place at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung, the city that will host all the ice events in the Olympics.

The 12 men's teams have been divided into three groups of four. The three group winners plus the top second-seeded team will reach the quarterfinals and will be joined by the winners of the qualification playoffs.