South Korea has opened the men's hockey world championship in Ukraine with a victory.
Four different players scored for South Korea in the 4-2 win over Poland on Saturday (local time) at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship Division I Group A at Palace of Sports in Kiev. South Korea came in ranked 23rd in the world, three spots below Poland. This was South Korea's first win in the opening game of the Division I Group A in five tries.
The six-nation competition, which goes through Friday, is the second-highest level of men's international hockey. The top two teams after the round-robin play will be promoted to the top-flight IIHF World Championship next year, while the worst team will drop to Division I Group B.
Other nations in the tournament are Kazakhstan (No. 16), Austria (No. 17), Hungary (No. 19) and Ukraine (No. 22).
Forward Kim Ki-sung opened the scoring for South Korea 7:51 into the first period, beating goalie Przemyslaw Odrobny with a wrist shot.
Sin Sang-woo then doubled South Korea's lead at 7:07 in the next period, with his checking line center Park Woo-sang getting the primary assist.
Poland got one back with a power-play goal by Mateusz Bryk seven minutes later. But South Korea pulled away with a pair of third-period goals.
Lee Young-jun made it 3-1 South Korea at the 2:07 mark in the final frame, taking a pass from Michael Swift and finishing it with a gorgeous backhander. Just about four minutes later, Kim Sang-wook put South Korea up 4-1 with an unassisted goal.
Poland fought back as Bartlomiej Pociecha scored at 9:48, but South Korean goalie Matt Dalton weathered the storm in the late stretch to preserve the victory.
Dalton made 36 saves in the win, with Poland outshooting South Korea in every period.
Coached by former National Hockey League (NHL) defenseman Jim Paek, South Korea will next face Kazakhstan on Sunday.
South Korea was shut out by Kazakhstan 4-0 at the Sapporo Asian Winter Games in February, despite the Central Asian nation not sending all of its best skaters. Kazakhstan has won all 12 meetings against South Korea so far.
This is a key test tournament for South Korea ahead of its Olympic debut on home ice next year at the PyeongChang Winter Games. South Korea earned a spot as the host, and will face world No. 1 Canada, along with the Czech Republic and Switzerland. (Yonhap)