Fairbanks Ice Dogs have a knack for scoring big goals and making huge saves when they reach the collegiate level. Sunday, a current Ice Dog helped his country take a huge step forward on the international hockey scene.
Pavlo Padakin scored the game-winning goal with two seconds left in overtime to lift Ukraine to a 3-2 victory against Lithuania in the Under 20 Division II Group A World Championships in front of nearly 4,000 fans on their home ice in Donetsk, Ukraine. By winning the championship, the Ukraine will play again at the Division I Group B World Championships in 2012.
Padakin had three goals and three assists in the tournament. He had a +3 rating and was ticketed for eight penalty minutes. Two of his goals came on the power play and his lone game-winning goal made a huge statement for his home country.
The win came against fellow NAHL’er and Janesville Jets star forward Pijus Rulevicius, who played for Lithuania during the tournament.
While playing for Lithuania, Rulevicius was third in goals and fourth in points overall in Group A for the tournament. He was the leading scorer on his team with 5 goals even though Rulevicius played in only 4 of the 5 games the Lithuanians competed. Pijus scored a powerplay in the championship game versus Ukriane as Lithuania lost that game in overtime earning the silver medal. Rulevicius was named player of the game versus the Netherlands earlier in the tourney.
Ukraine didn’t begin as strongly as expected when it needed a shootout to defeat underdog Korea 3-2 in the opener, but the home squad improved throughout the tournament and finished it with a next-to-perfect record. After winning against Hungary (7-6), Spain (4-0) and the Netherlands (7-0) the yellow-blue team faced Lithuania in a winner-takes-it-all game on Sunday.
Both players are currently playing in the NAHL this season.