Day: November 14, 2022

Swedes win on Finnish ice

Swedish wins the Karjala Tournament

Marcus Hogberg had a strong tournament in the Swedish net at the Karjala Tournament in Finland.

By Martin Merk –

In international men’s ice hockey the season for reigning World and Olympic champion Finland started on home ice in Turku with the Karjala Tournament. But this time it was not the Finns but Sweden, which took first place ahead of newcomer Switzerland.

The Swedes under new head coach Sam Hallam had a successful start into the Euro Hockey Tour by first winning the break-out game in Ceske Budejovice against home team Czechia 4-1. It was the show of Andre Petersson, who hasn’t played a big international tournament since the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship but scored a hat trick against the Czechs en route to winning the scoring race.

“You never know. You step on the ice every game and try to score and sometimes you end up scoring a lot of goals and sometimes you don’t,” Petersson said.

He did it again in what turned out to be the deciding game on Saturday against eventual runner-up Switzerland. His goal after six-and-a-half minutes deflecting a Par Lindholm shot opened the scoring for Tre Kronor in the match-up of the 2013 and 2018 Worlds finalists. Switzerland showed an improved performance as of the second period and tied the game with a power-play goal from Damien Riat. During the third period Sweden regained the lead and the Swiss tied it again. An avoidable penalty of the Swiss made things clear in overtime where Jonathan Dalen scored the game-winning goal on the man advantage after 65 seconds. It was Sweden’s ninth win in a row in an international game against Switzerland.

On the last day Switzerland and Czechia, which beat Finland 5-2 in the second game, needed a regulation-time win in their head-to-head game and hope that Sweden would lose the last game to Finland in regulation time to be able to win the tournament.

Like each of Switzerland’s games in Turku, this one also ended 2-2 after regulation time, which meant Sweden was known as tournament winner before the last game. Sven Senteler capitalized on a giveaway in overtime to score the game-winning goal for Switzerland in a game that determined second and third places. Andres Ambuhl, the 39-year-old on an otherwise slightly rejuvenated team, played his 300th international game with the Swiss men’s national team scoring a goal.

In a game that didn’t influence the standings, Finland had a 4-1 consolation win against its neighbouring rival Sweden. However, the Swedes finished first and Finland remained in last place.

“Karjala is always a fun tournament. Three games in four days, that’s always tough but we tried to play solid. Today the Finns were one notch better than us but we still take home the tournament victory, so we’re happy. We played a good game, we could have won. We had a lot of scoring chances but couldn’t score,” said Petersson, who gave a good first impression to the new head coach as scoring leader of the tournament.

Could that open the door to the first IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship participation for him? “We’ll see what he says. I’ll try to do my best and work hard all year and see where it gets me,” he said.

Switzerland impressed with a second-place finish as newcomer to the Euro Hockey Tour thanks to their wins against Finland and Czechia. The Swiss were invited to this small circle of four teams replacing Russia.

“It’s the best that could have happened to Swiss ice hockey. It is important to play against such opponents to make a step forward. We want to show that we belong here, not just because Russia is missing but because we can play hockey well,” Ambuhl said.

“We are incredibly thankful to be here even though the circumstances to be part of are sad. It is enormously valuable for us as a team. It’s a great tournament with strong opponents. We want to be here to win every game, no matter who the opponent is,” said national team head coach Patrick Fischer.

The next Euro Hockey Tour event in December will be hosted by the Swiss in Fribourg.

Germany wins Deutschland Cup

The Deutschland Cup is another traditional event of the international break in November and it ended up with Germany sweeping through its home-ice event in Krefeld.

The Germans had their toughest challenge on Day 1 against Denmark where Daniel Schmolz scored two goals including the overtime winner in the 3-2 victory. They followed up with 3-0 blankings of Austria and Slovakia.

“A young German team found the way to win the game and the tournament,” Germany head coach Toni Soderholm said. “I’m very proud of what the players showed and how they performed. It was a deserved tournament win.”

Second place went to Austria, which started the tournament with a 3-2 overtime win against Slovakia and ended it with a 3-1 victory against Denmark.

“I’m very happy and very satisfied with the game. We didn’t have much time to regenerate [after the loss to Germany]. We had good discipline and a fighting spirit. It was a great performance, I’m impressed. I think we represented Austria very well,” Austria head coach Roger Bader said.

Denmark had a 4-3 overtime win against Slovakia to finish the event in third place ahead of the Slovaks. Mathias From scored two goals including the game-winner that also lifted him to the top of the scoring stats.

Wins for Latvia, Italy and Poland

Elsewhere, Latvia, the co-host of the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship together with Finland, won a Three Nations Tournament in Trondheim. Georgs Golovkovs scored a hat trick in the 6-3 win against host and second-ranked Norway, which was followed by a 3-2 victory against Denmark’s B team.

The six-team Tamas Sarkozy Memorial Tournament in Budapest ended up with a neighbouring rivalry between France and Italy in the final. The French game back from a two-goal deficit but Enrico Miglioranzi scored the 4-3 tournament-winner in the shootout. Ukraine participated in the tournament after the relaunch of the league and beat host Hungary 2-1 in the third-place game thanks to first-period goals from Danil Trakht and Glib Krivosapkin. Japan took fifth place after defeating winless Slovenia.

Poland won the Baltic Challenge Cup in Kaunas thanks to wins against host Lithuania, eventual runner-up Estonia and a Latvian students’ selection.

Finland, Hungary win women’s events

Finns find winning ways

Viivi Vainikka and Noora Tulus led the tournament in Finland in scoring.

By Liz Montroy –

With the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship season behind them and the 2023 tournaments on the horizon, women’s national team programs are preparing for the new international season with tournaments and exhibition games against other nations.

Nine countries competing in the Top Division and Division I Group A were the first to do so this fall, with Finland finishing first in the Five Nations Tournament on home ice in Vierumaki and Hungary finishing first in the Four Nations Tournament in Vaujany, France. While most nations were missing a number of key players due to other commitments (such as the NCAA season), these tournaments provided others with an opportunity to make a case for their inclusion on the national team next spring.

Finns find winning ways

Four wins and only two goals against led Finland to first place in their first competition since their sixth-place performance at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships. Played from 8 to 12 November, the Finns collected two 4-0 shutouts over Switzerland and Germany and two 3-1 victories over Sweden and Czechia. Noora Tulus and Viivi Vainikka led the tournament in scoring, Tulus with one goal and six assists, and Vainikka with five goals. Defender Rosa Lindstedt also stood out with five assists. 

While they lost to Finland and Czechia, the Swedes – led by Anna Kjellbin wearing the C – also collected two significant shutout wins. Fanny Rask scored a hat trick in a 7-0 win over Germany to open the tournament, while Felizia Wikner Zienkiewicz collected two goals in a 5-0 win over Switzerland to close out the tournament. 

Perhaps the closest game of the tournament was the match-up between Czechia and Switzerland, who last met in the bronze medal game at the 2022 Women’s Worlds, which Czechia won 4-2. While Czechia took a 2-0 lead in Vierumaki, Switzerland tied the game early in the third period. However, it was the Czechs who skated away with the win, with Agata Sarnovska potting the game winner.

It was a tough tournament for Germany, who iced a young team and were shut out in their three games played (the Germany-Czechia game was cancelled due to a power outage). Two teenage goalies shared duties for Germany, 19-year-old Lilly Uhrmann and 18-year-old Felicity Luby.

Hungary wins in France

Hungary followed up their eighth-place finish at the 2022 Women’s Worlds – a historic best-ever performance – with first place in the Four Nations Tournament, which took place 10-12 November. They were followed by Slovakia in second, France in third, and Norway in fourth. 

Hungary and France gave a sneak peek into the 2023 Worlds, which will see France return to the Top Division for just the second time. Imola Horvath was the hero of their match-up, scoring a late goal to give the Hungarians a 1-0 win. 

Norway, which will compete in the Division I Group A in April along with Slovakia, was the only team able to beat Hungary, which they did by a score of 3-2 with contributions from rising stars Silje Gundersen and Lotte Pedersen and veteran Andrea Dalen.

The host nation’s Clara Rozier, who is on her way to a standout season in Finland’s Naisten Liiga with 14 goals and 13 assists in 17 games, led the tournament in goals scored with three, one to open scoring in a 3-2 win over Norway and two in a 4-3 overtime loss to Slovakia. While France tried to settle into a 3-1 lead, Slovakia made a comeback, tying the game with two goals in the final 10 minutes and securing the win with an overtime winner from Livia Kubekova.

U20 Finns perfect in 5-team event

Finnish U20 national team wins five nations

Jani Nyman was among the top players of the Finnish U20 national team.

By Derek O’Brien –

In the last tune-up tournament for three of Europe’s top under-20 national teams ahead of the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Junior Championship, Finland’s U20 side went unbeaten in a five-team tournament in the Ostrava suburb of Poruba, Czechia. In three games, the Finns outscored the Swedish U20 team and a pair of Czech junior national teams 18-3. The Finns secured first place with a 4-0 win over Czechia U20 in the last game. 

Finnish right winger Jani Nyman recorded two goals and an assist in the last game to finish with a tournament-leading seven points. The 18-year-old from Ilves Tampere was a second-round pick of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken this past summer. One point behind him was Swedish centre Filip Bystedt, a first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks and current member of Linkoping HC, had a goal and five assists. Swedes Leo Carlsson and Oskar Pettersson and Finn Ville Koivunen had five points each, while the top-scoring defender was Finland’s Topias Vilen with three points. 

Among goalies, Sweden’s Ian Blomquist and Finland’s Aku Koskenvuo each won both of their starts, while Finn Jani Lampinen earned the tournament’s only shutout in the final game. 

Finland’s roster included five players who were part of the silver-medal squad at last summer’s World Junior Championship in Edmonton, including 2004-born Joakim Kemell, who went 17th overall to the Nashville Predators this past summer. Also on the team was 16-year-old defender Aron Kiviharju of TPS Turku.  

The Swedes also finished with nine points but played one more game, losing 6-1 in the head-to-head game with Finland U20 on Saturday thanks to a Kalle Vaisanen hat trick. The tournament didn’t schedule the two Czech teams or two Finnish teams against each other. 

The Swedish roster included nine members of the U18 team that won gold this past April in Germany and four first-round picks from last year’s NHL Entry Draft – Bystedt and the Djurgarden Stockholm trio of Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Noah Ostlund and Liam Ohgren.

Czechia U20 opened with a narrow 4-3 loss to Sweden and eventually finished third with three points. Eduard Sale – a highly-rated prospect for the 2023 Draft – and Jakub Kos had three points each. The Czechs, who took a very young team to the last World Juniors but have several eligible players in North America, only brought seven of a whopping 19 potential returnees to this tournament on home ice. That includes 2004-born defender Frantisek Nemec, who suited up for the Czech U19 team. 

In the matchup between the tournament’s two U19 squads, Finland edged Czechia 3-2 in a shootout. 

Elsewhere, on home ice in the alpine town of Monthey, Switzerland won a very evenly-matched four-team tournament. After opening with a 3-2 loss to Slovakia, the Swiss edged Norway 6-4 and Germany 1-0. In the last game, goalkeepers Mathieu Croce of Switerland and Mathias Bittner of Germany were perfect for 45 minutes but, needing a regulation win to secure top spot, Switzerland’s Terraneo Simone scored the game’s only goal with 14:48 to play. 

Also on the last day of play, Norway secured second place with a 4-3 overtime victory over Slovakia. The Slovaks had battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the score in the third period but Kasper Magnusen, with his third goal of the game, scored the overtime winner on a pass from rated prospect Martin Johnsen, his third assist of the game. 

Johnsen and Switzerland’s Joel Henry led the tournament with four points each. 

In St. Polten, Austria, Denmark secured top spot by winning its first two games against Hungary and host Austria. The Danes then dropped a 3-2 decision to the Latvian U18 team in their last game with first place already sewn up. It was the first win for the young Latvian squad, who got a big 40-save performance from goaltender Aksels Ozols. 

There was more drama in Saturday’s other game, in which Hungary took second place with a 4-3 win over Austria on an overtime goal by Andras Mihalik. 

Also, the Slovenian national junior team won a tournament on home ice in Jesenice that also included France, Hungary and Italy. At the same time, Estonia triumphed in Kaunas, Lithuania in a tournament that also included Poland, Romania and the host Lithuanians.

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