Date: April 21, 2017

Countries hoping for 2018 IIHF World Championships qualification head to Kiev

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By George Thorpe – Inside The Games

Teams will be looking to qualify for next year’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships when the Division I competition starts in Kiev tomorrow.

The top two teams from Group A in the round robin contest taking place in the Ukrainian capital will progress to the 2018 edition of the top tournament in the sport, which will be hosted in Denmark.

All the matches will be played at the Palace of Sports with the competition set to go on until April 28.

Action will start with the hosts taking on Hungary before South Korea face Poland.

The opening day’s matches will be completed with Austria taking on Kazakhstan.

Slovenia and Italy were the teams who earned spots at the World Championships after topping the group in Poland.

Alongside this contest, the Division’s Group B will also be taking place at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with the top side earning promotion to Group A.

The opening game will take place on Sunday (April 23) with The Netherlands meeting Japan.

Hosts Great Britain will be next on the ice as they take on Croatia before Estonia face Lithuania in the day’s final game.

Matches will continue in the group until April 29.

The lowest ranked team from Group A will be relegated to B, while the last placed country from the latter will head to Division Two A.

Next year’s line up in Division One will be completed by the two sides who finish last in the groups in the main World Championships, which are due to take place in Germany and France from May 5 to 21.

Asia Ice Hockey Championships Begins Tomorrow In Kuwait

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By Arab Times

The participating national teams in the Division 1 of the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia have completed their technical preparations prior to the launch of the tournament, which is due to be held at the Kuwait Ice Skating Rink on April 22-25.

The four-day event is being held under the patronage of Minister of Commerce and Industry and State Minister for Youth Affairs Khaled Al-Roudhan.

The three teams from Macau, India and Oman which are participating in the competitions have arrived in the country yesterday and are continuing with the preparations prior to the launch of the tournament.

Japan women’s ice hockey team secures promotion to top flight

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By Japan Times

Japan beat Austria 4-1 for its fourth victory at the second-tier women’s ice hockey world championships on Thursday, earning promotion to the elite division.

The Japanese team, ranked seventh in the world, faced 11th-ranked Austria with both teams knotted at three wins each atop the Group A competition table.

But with the win Japan got separation, making it 12 points from four wins to secure promotion with one game remaining in the six-team tournament at Merkur Arena in Graz, Austria.

Japan had secured promotion to the top division in 2013 after finishing with a 5-0 record in the second-tier competition, but lost all five games in the elite-division world championships last year and returned to the second tier.

“We stayed calm and maintained our pace throughout the game. I felt at ease watching the third period,” said Japan head coach Takeshi Yamanaka.

Veteran forward Hanae Kubo opened the scoring for Japan with a goal 11 minutes into the first period to convert for the first time in the tournament, and added a second 3 minutes later to put Japan well on the way to the win. Rui Ukita provided assists on both goals to finish match equal with Kubo’s two-point game-high total.

Japan goalkeeper Nana Fujimoto went the distance and fended off 18 of 19 shots on goal but it was a different story at the other end. Austria starter Theresa Hornich had a horror game, letting in all four goals on 12 shots in 27 minutes of ice time. A second-period change to Jessica Ekrt slowed the Japanese, with the replacement stopper unbeaten on 16 shots on goal.

Captain Chiho Osawa, who had three shots on goal, had only good things to say about the way her team played in the April 15-21 tournament, which also serves as a qualifier for the 2018 world championships.

“I’m glad we earned promotion. This is good news. We were able to win points at crucial moments and extend our lead (against Austria). We controlled the puck a lot more smoothly than we did in other games,” said Osawa.