Prime Minister Xavier Bettel very kindly invited Luxembourg’s proud Gold Medalists to his office to congratulate them on their win in the 3rd Division Championship in Sofia. He said that he was very proud of the teams achievements and what it meant to Luxembourg and that it deserved to be highlighted.
After that the team presented him with a personalized jersey carrying his name and the number 17 in honor of Luxembourg’s win in 2017. He was visibly moved. The Team followed then the PM outside for a group picture where the Mr. Bettel proudly displayed his jersey.
After having the picture taken Mr. Bettel took even more time out to discuss over a glass of Crement and a slice of Riesling Pasteit the game, the players’ personal histories and the championship. There were many laughter. To finish this special day he gave the Team a tour of his arty office giving a peek inside the job of Prime Minister. At the end Mr. Bettel even expressed interest in coming to a hockey game. It looks Team Luxembourg has won a new fan and Mr. Bettel 25 grateful ones in return.
The Latvian B team took first place in the Baltic Challenge Cup in Tallinn, Estonia with a 7-2 victory over Estonia in the last game of the the tournament.
Latvian Reinis Petkus, representing Zemgale / LLU, was recognized as the best goalkeeper of the tournament and Frenz Razgals, who scored seven points in two games was awarded the best forward.
Latvia also beat Lithuania (13: 1) and Swedish first league club Hammarby IF (5: 0).
The second stage of the Baltic Challenge Cup will be held in Klaipėda, Lithuania, from 10 to 12 November, while the final games will take place from 16 to 18 February in a still uncertain place in Latvia.
Going into the final day of the competition, Filip Pesan’s Czech Republic team had a perfect record after wins over Sweden and Finland; Russia was a point behind after requiring overtime to subdue the Swedes. With everything to play for, the teams served up a classic encounter: both teams held the lead, the Czechs clawed back a two-goal deficit on a 5-on-3 power play and then snatched a late tying goal when Filip Zadina (Halifax Mooseheads) made it 5-5 after goalie Adam Brizgala was pulled with 90 seconds remaining. But the Russians kept their heads and Mikhail Maltsev (SKA-1946 St. Petersburg) fired a backhand shot into the top corner to deliver an overtime winner for Valeri Bragin’s youngsters.
That victory was enough to match the Czechs’ seven-point tally, with the head-to-head victory on the final day in Vierumaki proving decisive.
For head coach Bragin, the key thing was the competitive spirit of the entire tournament, especially as he begins to finalize his World Championship roster.
“We played some really useful games,” he said. “We need to look closely at the candidates for the World Juniors because there’s only our November series in Canada to play before the championship. Therefore, the tougher the games, the better is it for the coaching staff: we can see what these players are made of.”
All of Russia’s games were tight. Against Sweden, despite a dream start with two goals in 33 seconds, Tre Kronor fought back to tie the scores with two power play goals. Then, against Finland, the pressure was on from the start as the hosts took a first-period lead through Roni Allen (JYP); Dynamo Moscow prospect Yegor Zaitsev snatched a late 2-1 victory with a power play goal on 57:14.
The need to assess potential players for Buffalo prompted Bragin to call up an experimental roster. Of the 22 youngsters who travelled to Finland, only Grigori Dronov (Metallurg Magnitogorsk) featured in last year’s U20 national team at the IIHF World Junior Championship and none were involved in the U18 bronze medal-winning roster from 2017. There were also no call-ups for any Russian players based in North America.
Russia’s leading scorer in the tournament was Artyom Manukyan, who plays his hockey within the Avangard organisation in Omsk. The 19-year-old is only just making an impact on the international scene, having never featured in Russia’s teams at the U18 Worlds. However, he’s been earmarked as a man with a bright future after a record-breaking season in the MHL, the KHL’s junior league, last season. Manukyan rattled up 105 points in 60 games, with 39 goals and 66 assists. And all that was on a team that failed to make the playoffs. In Finland, he scored three in three, including the overtime winner in the opening game against Sweden, and added an assist to join a three-way tie with Czech duo Martin Kaut (Dynamo Pardubice) and Ostap Safin (Sparta Prague) on top of the scoring charts.
Finland, beaten in its first two games, restored some pride on Saturday with a resounding 6-1 win over Sweden, despite trailing 0-1 at the first intermission. The Finns scored three in each of the remaining sessions, and finished the competition with eight different goal scorers. The Swedes finished bottom of the table, picking up a solitary point from that overtime loss against Russia on the opening day.
Finland’s national women’s team picked up right where it left off, winning all three games at a 4 Nations event in Sweden this weekend.
Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden and all played three games in three nights in an event intended to give their respective coaches a sense of where their rosters stand heading into this critical Olympic season.
The European nations aren’t centralizing the way Canada and the United States are, so every chance they have to play games and assess talent is all the more important before PyeongChang in February 2018.
All games but one followed a familiar pattern which saw the team that scored first go on to win the game. The lone exception was the final game of the weekend, a narrow 3-2 win for Sweden over Russia.
Russia jumped into a 2-0 lead early in the second on goals from veterans Olga Sosina and Yelena Dergachyova, but the home side fought back with two power-play goals. Annie Svedin got the first and Emmy Alasalmi got the equalizer midway though the third. Johanna Olofsson then scored the winner with less than two minutes to go.
Recall that the Finns beat Canada, put a scare into the U.S., and won an impressive bronze at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, USA this past April. The team in Eskilstuna was similar in make-up to the April roster, including goalie Noora Raty and captain Jenni Hiirikoski.
Sweden finished with two wins and a loss while Russia had one win. The tournament was an eye-opener for the Germans, who lost all three games. Under the enthusiasm of coach Benjamin Hinterstocker, the team finished an impressive fourth in Plymouth, winning three of its first four games and providing a welcome breath of fresh air all tournament.
But they are no longer a surprise, and it’s clear Hinterstocker has his work cut out for him if the team is going to perform equally well in Korea. Indeed, the team scored but one goal in three games in Eskilstuna, that by 16-year-old defender Franziska Brendel in a 3-1 loss to Russia.
More telling were shots on goal. The Germans were outshot 45-8 by Sweden, 39-16 by Russia, and 54-9 by Finland. To get 33 shots in three games will not be enough at the Olympics, but at least the Germans know where they stand and what work lies ahead.
The Germans were also the youngest team, with an average age of just 20.9. Again, this is both a strength and weakness, their future looking great but their inexperience a fault for the immediate future.
Three of the top-four scorers in the tournament were Finns. Michelle Karvinen had two goals and six points to lead all players and Riikka Valila and Hiirikoski had four points, as did Russian forward Olga Sosina. Sosina and Susanna Tapani of Finland were the only players to score three goals.
Sweden’s only loss was to Finland, 4-0, but it continues to feature a young roster that seems to be improving with every outing. Many of its senior players have two or more years of play at the U18 level on their resume and might well be ready to come into their own this season, namely Lisa Johansson, Sara Hjalmarsson, and the aforementioned Alasalmi.
Sweden’s Damkronorna some weeks earlier played two exhibition games at one of the Olympic venues in Gangneung and beat host Korea 3-0 and 4-1.
The Florida Panthers Ice Hockey team was right at home in Barbados when they paid a visit to Icetopia Skating Rink this past Wednesday evening.
Continuing their community outreach while on the island, the United States National Hockey League (NHL) teams carried a clinic for young players as there was a new interest in the sport.
With several youngsters coming out to the region’s first ice skating rink to take part in the workshop, they were taken through the paces by defencemen Ian McCoshen and Alex Petrovic as well as newly-retired player Shawn Thornton, who now wears the hat of Vice President of Business Operations for the team.
Speaking to The Barbados Advocate, Vice President of Alumni and and Broadcasting Randy Moller explained that the initiative came out of their desire to give something back, in the hopes that it would aid the development of the sport in Barbados.
“As part of our partnership with the island of Barbados and our outreach programmes and our community development for youth hockey for the Florida Panthers, we jumped on this opportunity to come down here to this beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados when we found out that they have an indoor synthetic ice arena that kids actually play hockey on. We were excited about coming down and putting on a clinic for these kids and hopefully give them some more pointers to improve their skills in the world’s fastest team game,” Moller said.
Noting that they brought some of their best and brightest, Moller stated that they were enjoying their time on the island.
“We brought Panthers defencemen Alex Petrovic, Ian McCoshen and former Florida Panther Shawn Thornton to strap on the blades and come down and see what this is all about. We have been very impressed. This is incredible and to have this on an island in the Southern Caribbean is amazing. Barbados is incredible and we are really happy to be here,” he said.
The Philippine ice hockey team won the sport’s first ever SEA Games gold medal.
The Philippines avoided a mid-game collapse to win the inaugural ice hockey gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games over Thailand, 5-4, on Thursday, August 24 at Empire City Mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Playing without team captain John Steven Fuglister, who was suspended for this match due to rough play, the Philippine team took advantage of early power play opportunities, scoring a goal from Benjamin Imperial, followed by two more from Paul Gabriel Sanchez inside the first 14 minutes.
Another power play situation in the second period led to another goal, 4-0 in the 25th minute. And then the Thais came back. On the ensuing possession, Chanchieo Supadilokluk scored Thailand’s first goal, followed by two more from Papan Thanakroekkiat before the period ended.
The Philippine team returned to its aggressive ways in the third period, dominating the puck again and scoring the 5-3 goal at the 51-minute mark by Jose Inigo Anton Cadiz, which provided enough of a margin to survive one more goal from Thailand, as they once again pulled to within striking distance in the 56th minute thanks to a Masato Kitayama goal.
Both Thailand and the Philippines entered the gold medal match unbeaten at 3-0, with their vastly superior squads leading to lopsided goal differences in the round robin tournament, which was joined by Malaysia, the bronze medalists, plus Indonesia and Singapore.
In the Bronze Medal game Malaysia trashed Singapore 8-2.
Gold – Philippines Silver – Thailand Bronze – Malaysia
Singapore’s hopes of a podium finish in the SEA Games 2017 ice hockey competition took a beating after they lost 2-7 to the Philippines on Tuesday at Kuala Lumpur’s Empire City Mall.
This was their second defeat in two games, having lost 0-7 to Thailand on Sunday.
The Singapore ice hockey team includes a mix of teenage students and working adults who have been forking out their own money to conduct training sessions and travel for competitions.
Prior to the SEA Games, they had made known their aim to finish among the Top 3 at the Games. The team will now need to beat both Indonesia and Malaysia in their final two games to stand a chance of reaching their goal.
The Philippines, on the other hand, are aiming to win the first ice hockey gold medal in the SEA Games’ history. Nicknamed The Mighty Ducks, they are considered the best team in South-east Asia.
In their debut at the Asian Winter Games in February, they took home the bronze and are the only tropical country to have won a medal in the sport.
Later in the day Thailand won their third straight game by demolishing Indonesia 12-0.
Malaysia’s Loke Ban Kin (right) in action against Thai players during the match at MYNISS, Empire City Damansara. Pic by AZIAH AZMEE
Malaysia recorded its first loss in the 2017 Sea Games men’s ice hockey competition, going down 10-4 to Thailand in the fourth match of round robin at the Malaysia National Ice Skating Stadium (MYNISS), Empire City, Damansara Perdana, tonight.
In the first period, the team, led by captain Loke Ban Kin, showed bravado to fend off strong efforts by Thailand but only managed to record two goals through Loke and Bryan Lim before Thailand retaliated with three goals by Phandaj Khuhakaew and Hideki Nagayama.
Bryan scored another goal for Malaysia to level the score to 3-3 before Thailand cranked up a gear to add three more goals through captain Tewin Chartsuwan Nagayama and Khuhakaew.
It was Nagayama yet again in the third period before Chartsuwan brought the scoreline up to 9-3. Loke added a consolation goal for Malaysia, assisted by Bryan and Syed Ayman.
The Malaysian national ice hockey squad open their campaign in 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games with a 10-3 beating of Indonesia in their opening match.
However the Malaysians were stunned by an Indonesian goal in the first minute by Robald Wijaya before Khoo Seng Chee equalised two minutes later.
The host team continued to widen the gap with a goal by Brandon Tan Wai Kin in the fifth minute and Hariz Mohammad Oryza in the 13th and 19th minutes while Indonesia replied via Felix Aditya Utama Yussanto in the 18th minute.
In the second set, Malaysia piled up another four goals with Mohammad Hariz scoring in the 21st minute followed by Brandon (24’), Moi Jia Yung (25’) and Khoo (29’).
The national squad maintain their momentum in the third set adding two more goals compared to one by Indonesia.
National coach Kristof Kovago of Hungary when met after the match said the ice hockey squad needed to improve further against Thailand tomorrow as they are quite strong side.
Earlier, the rink at Empire City in Damansara Perdana here was filled to the brim by about 500 spectators to watch the sports featured for the first time in the SEA Games was officiated by the Raja Muda of Perlis Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail.
In another round robin match today, Thailand blasted Singapore 7-0.
Growing up in Canada I was a huge hockey fan, but it wasn't until the 1972 summit series and the 1976 Canada Cup that I became a big fan of international hockey. The best players in world all playing on a sheet of ice.
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