Date: November 17, 2016

Abu Dhabi Storms await Belarus President’s Team in Ice Hockey President’s Cup final group game

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By Amith Passela – The National

The Abu Dhabi Storms will go all out to stop the Belarus President’s Team from completing a hat-trick of titles in the Ice Hockey President’s Cup Tournament on Friday when the competition’s top two teams meet in the final group game at 8pm on Friday.

Though the passage to the climax has been confirmed, the Belarus President’s Team have a tough but inconsequential game in the morning against Czech Parta to negotiate first at 10am at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink.

That has raised the hopes of Matti Fagerstrom, the Storms coach, after having been denied by the Belarus team twice in the past two years when he was a player.

“It’s a big challenge against the champions,” Fagerstrom said. “They are stronger than they were in the last two years but we are ready this time”.

Fagerstrom was on the ice on the last two stagings. “We lost to them in the final game last year. This time I’m on the bench and I want my team to win this time,” he said.

“The first three games were not easy but we expected to win those games for a final showdown with the Belarus President’s Team. I’m optimistic we can do it this time because we have a good team to challenge.”

Fagerstrom knows the quality of players required to win at this level. Hence, they have recruited six former Slovakian professionals, including Miraslov Satan who had spells at Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Pittsburg Penguins and Boston Bruins in the NHL.

“We are unable to provide much ice time as we would like for the local players but they can still learn from the limited time they get and by just being in the team alongside the professional players.”

There are four games scheduled for on Friday, two in the morning and two in the evening.

The Storms go into the final game undefeated after another emphatic result over Mimino of Georgia 11-2 last night. They led 3-2 in the first period, extended the lead to 5-2 in the next before rounding off in a flourish.

Satan was on target twice and Juhani Matikainen struck in-between for the Storms while Semen Kharizov and Alexsander Vasilchenko netted for Mimino in the first period.

Artsiom Karkotski and Peter Bondra were on target in the second period before the Storms completed the rout with half-a-dozen goals in the final period.

Satan added two more to take his tally to make it four in the match while Artur Zainutdivot, Matikainen, Aleksei Strakhov and Ratislav Pavlikovski got their names in the scoresheet.

In the first game, the Belarus President’s Team got the better of Emirates Hockey League All Stars 6-1 to notch up their second win of the competition.

Abu Dhabi Storms and Belarus on course to contest Ice Hockey President’s Cup Tournament championship game

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By Amith Passela – The National

When the organisers of the third Ice Hockey President’s Cup Tournament were preparing the fixture list, they probably had a good idea in mind which two teams would most likely meet in the final.

It may have been entirely coincidental but the Abu Dhabi Storms and the Belarus President’s Team, winners of the two previous editions, are on course to contest the championship game on Friday after overcoming Czech Sparta and Mimino of Georgia respectively in Wednesday’s round-robin matches.

The Belarus President’s Team ran out impressive 10-2 winners over Mimino in their opening match at the Abu Dhabi Ice Rink, while the Storms beat Czech Parta 5-0 in the second game, their second win in the five-team league that also include Emirates Hockey League All Stars.

The Storms meet Georgia who have lost both games, in their penultimate game today but the former Slovakia international Rastislav Pavlikovsky warned his team to guard against complacency.

“When you go into a new game you start from zero,” he said. “So we can’t take any team based on their results. Against them, we must try to do the same thing what we did tonight.

“Tonight we had the game under control from the beginning which was quite contrast to our first game when we were looking around as to what to do in the first period of that game.”

 Unlike their first game against the EHL All Stars, where they had to rally from a goal down in the first period before eventually prevailing 5-1, the Storms had the game under control from the first period against Sparta, taking an early 2-0 lead.

Artsiom Karlotski put the Storms ahead from an assist off Artur Zainutdivot on seven minutes and Miroslav Satan, the former NHL star, doubled the lead at the end of the first period.

Juma Al Dhaheri netted his second of the competition early in the second period while Satan struck twice to complete his hat-trick. The final period ended scoreless.

On Thursday, the Belarus President’s Team play EHL All Stars in the opener at 5pm and the Storms take on Georgia in the second match at 7pm.

HULL PIRATES 3-3 GB U20S

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By Tom Carnduff – Ice Hockey UK

A goal on 59:59 from Ivan Antonov ensured Great Britain Under-20s left the Hull Arena with a 3-3 draw on Wednesday evening.

Hull held a 3-1 advantage going into the third period, but GB showed great determination to come back and get a share of the spoils in East Yorkshire.

The Pirates took the lead early into the game, Brad Betteridge alert to a scramble in front of netminder Renny Marr to tap in at the backpost on 3:25.

Great Britain responded well and drew level through Liam Kirk on 4:10 when his effort beat Ash Smith in the Pirates net.

Dominic Osman put the Pirates back ahead with the first attack following the face-off. Osman dumping the puck into the zone and deflecting in with assistance from the plexi-glass behind the net.

Andrej Themar made it 3-1 on 22:23. He capitalised on a loose puck in the neutral zone and shot high into the top left corner of the net one-on-one.

GB cut the deficit to one through Ivan Antonov on 27:35. Josh Grieveson’s pass found Antonov in space out to the left of the attacking zone and the forward’s wrist shot beat Smith low to his left.

On the half-hour mark, Great Britain changed netminder. Denis Bell joining the action in place of Renny Marr, giving both netminders equal playing time.

Powerplay opportunities were presented to Great Britain in the third period, Kirk came close to putting the score level but his wrist shot went just over from close range with 44 minutes played.

On 49 minutes, the Pirates came close to making it four. Themar found Stanislav Lascek in space at the backpost, but Bell was alert to the danger and saved well low with his right pad.

With 53 minutes on the clock, Bell was called into action again. Salem’s shot from the left was finding its way into an open net, but the GB netminder did very well in getting across and making the save with his glove.

The game finished with a dramatic conclusion. Following a spell of attacking play from the U20s side, Antonov’s buzzer-beating effort made it 3-3. The original shot deflecting off the glass behind the net, Antonov alert to the danger to score at the left post.

The draw seemed the fair result. Great Britain having spells of good attacking and defensive play throughout the evening. GB will continue preparations for next month’s U20 World Championship in Hungary.