Category: Tournaments (page 2 of 7)

Young Russians make their case

By Andy Potts –

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.

Four Nations Tournament in Finland
24 Aug.   Vierumaki (FIN)   Sweden   Russia 2-3 OT
24 Aug.   Lahti (FIN)   Finland   Czech Rep. 1-3
25 Aug.   Vierumaki (FIN)   Czech Rep.   Sweden 4-2
25 Aug.   Lahti (FIN)   Finland   Russia 1-2
26 Aug.   Vierumaki (FIN)   Russia   Czech Rep. 6-5 OT
26 Aug.   Lahti (FIN)   Finland   Sweden 6-1
Standings: 1. Russia 7, 2. Czech Rep. 7, 3. Finland 3, 4. Sweden 1

Finland dominates 4 Nations

By Andrew Podnieks –

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.

Philippines defeats Thailand to win first ever SEA Games ice hockey gold

By Ryan Songalia –

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.

Awarding Ceremony

Gold – Philippines
Silver – Thailand
Bronze – Malaysia

Awarding Ceremony 🥇🇵🇭 Philippines 🥈Thailand🥉Malaysia

Posted by Federation of Ice Hockey League, Inc. on Thursday, August 24, 2017

PH beats Malaysia on penalties, takes shot at ice hockey gold

By Celest Flores-Colina –

The Philippines gets a crack at the ice hockey gold medal in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games after staying undefeated in three matches.

The Filipinos’ biggest win yet was 2-1 victory over host Malaysia in penalty shootout Wednesday night.

The match went into overtime after a tied game at 7-7. Neither side scored in the extra five minutes, sending the game into a shootout.

The Philippines, which has defeated Singapore and Indonesia, will face Thailand for the ice hockey gold on Thursday.

Singapore picked up there first victory 6-1 over Indonesia and will play for Bronze on Thursday against Malaysia.

The sport is being played for the first time in the regional games.

Singapore fall 2-7 to the Philippines in SEA Games ice hockey

By Yahoo News Singapore

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.

PH ice hockey team shuts down Indonesia


The Philippine ice hockey team’s campaign at the 29th Southeast Asian Games got off to a rousing start with a dominant victory over Indonesia in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

 The Filipinos blanked the Indonesian squad, 12-0, at the Empire City Ice Arena in Damansara Perdana.
The Philippines’ 12-point shellacking of Indonesia has been the most dominant performance in the SEA Games ice hockey tournament so far.

The Philippines will next face Singapore at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

By New Straits Times

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.

Malaysia national ice hockey team thrashes Indonesia 10-3

Malaysia’s Eu Jin Yap and Reezman Isa (left) vie for the puck with Indonesia’s
Aditya Rama Putra during the match at Empire City in Damansara.

By New Straits Times

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.

Mason Raymond Scores Twice to Give Canada Bronze at Sochi Open

By Steven Ellis –

Team Canada has won a bronze in their first tournament of the Olympic season, defeating Metallurg Magnitogorsk by a score of 3-1 on Wednesday evening at the Sochi Hockey Open.

A power play opportunity at the halfway point in the first period allowed Canada to take the first lead. At 11:26, Mason Raymond tapped in a goal short side on Vasily Koshechkin after some great passes between Gilbert Brule and Andrew Ebbett. It was a big goal for Raymond, who only played four professional games last year after starting the season with the Anaheim Ducks. Raymond did, however, represent Canada at the Spengler Cup, potting six points in five games to help Canada win their second straight tournament.

Canada, however, wouldn’t hold on the lead for long. Defenseman Sergej Tereshchenko, who isn’t really known for offensive exploits, made it 1-1 after taking a Denis Denisov pass from the point and wiring it past Justin Peters, tying the game up at one apiece just 6:55 into the second period.

Raymond was often criticized for his inconsistent play in the NHL, bumping around multiple teams before landing with SC Bern for the upcoming season. But his second goal of the night was not to be missed after picking the puck up behind the net on his blade and sliding it top corner while still behind the goal line in a lacrosse-style move. Justin Azevedo would score an empty netter, but it would be Raymond’s goal that would result in a bronze medal for the two-time defending Olympic champions.

Canada will bring a mostly-different roster to the Nikolai Puchkov Tournament, which begins in Russia next week. It’s one of many tournaments Canada will take part in as the team looks to prepare to an Olympic tournament with no NHLers.


Israel going big

By Martin Merk –

Ice hockey in Israel is usually played at small rinks, forcing the national team to have to compete abroad. But this year, at the ice hockey tournaments of the 20th Maccabiah Games, the Israelis will get to compete on a regulation-sized ice rink, installed in the Pais Arena in Jerusalem.

The arena in the southwest of the holy city is normally used as the home of the Hapoel Jerusalem basketball team with a capacity for 11,600 spectators and for concerts. With the bigger field of play in ice hockey the organizers expect a capacity for 10,000. That’s a sharp contrast to what players in Israel have been used to since the opening of the first ice rink in 1986.

The Maccabiah Games, sometimes described as the “Jewish Olympics”, are a multi-sport event held every four years in Israel with Jewish athletes representing the different countries they come from, dating back to 1932. 10,000 athletes from 80 countries in 47 sports are expected to compete this month in Israel. Ice hockey was played twice before, in 1997 and at the most recent edition in 2013 in Metulla.

Despite being in a warm country with a large area covered by desert and the thermometer expected to hit 37°C in Jerusalem today, ice hockey is not totally unknown in Israel but still rather exotic for the average Israeli.

“We have approximately 800 ice hockey players and four leagues,” says Lihu Ichilov, the General Secretary of the Ice Hockey Federation of Israel, who has been involved in the sport for 27 years, basically since its beginning in Israel. Ten teams play in the men’s A league, 14 in the B league, 10 in the U20 league and 15 in the U18 league.

While there’s no women’s hockey competition, 28 female players compete in boys’ leagues and can be two years over the boys’ age limit.

“Most of the games are played in Holon because most of the teams are based in central Israel. And then we have a rink in Metulla in the north. In Holon they can play ice hockey from 6 to 8 in the morning and from 8 in the evening to 2am after midnight. It’s crazy – but we love it!” Ichilov says. “There’s no tribune but whenever we have games, the rink is packed with 300-500 people standing around, which is the full capacity.”

While the rink in Metulla, a city in the north partly surrounded by Lebanon, is full size, the one in Holon, a city of 190,000 inhabitants a few kilometres away from Tel Aviv, is about half the size, 900 square metres, and opened in 2013. And there is an even smaller one in Ma’alot.

“Hopefully in two years we will have an Olympic-size rink attached to the current rink in Holon. The owner is working on it and the plans have been submitted to the municipality. This will sort out all our problems and increase the development to unbelievable stages,” Ichilov says. It would not only be full size but also have a capacity for at least 5,000 spectators according to him.

Israel has less experience playing at home than other countries competing at Division II level. In 1996 Israel played a qualification game for the 1998 Olympics in Metulla. They lost 10-2 to Greece but that game was eventually declared a 5-0 victory for Israel because Greece used ineligible players. Israel advanced but lost in the following round. In 2006 the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III was planned in Metulla but was eventually moved to Romania due to security concerns caused by tensions at the Israeli-Lebanese border that eventually led to a war later that year and the evacuation of the population.

Having played at many international-size arenas abroad, culminating with a Division I participation in 2006 in Amiens, France, the Israelis can now get the experience of a top-notch arena at home with the rink installed in Jerusalem.

“Everybody is excited. Not only us but everybody involved in sport. They come and see the arena and can’t believe. They used to go there for basketball and now it’s ice there. And for our team it’s exciting to play an international event at home against teams from other countries with six nations involved,” Ichilov says. “I hope between 2,500 and 5,000 people will come for the bigger games but the organizers are even more optimistic and hope for 8,000 spectators.”

Similar to the IIHF at Olympic tournaments, the Ice Hockey Federation of Israel is setting up the competitions at the Maccabiah Games with the arrangements for the teams, paperwork, schedules and officials.

The games are played in a city that has never seen ice hockey before, although there is a team with players originally coming from inline hockey that was founded in Jerusalem but plays at the other rinks and even made its way up to the Senior A league two years ago.

The North American Maccabiah teams were pushing to have the event in Jerusalem rather than in the remote north. This eventually led to discussions with the mayor of Jerusalem and IHFI President Evgeni Gusev to make the dream come true.

“The rink was bought from an Austrian company. It’s just a shame that it will finish in a warehouse waiting to be requested again. But I have the feeling they will build it up every year in summer,” says Ichilov.

Three ice hockey tournaments will take place at the Maccabiah Games that are played from 4 to 18 July – except on Saturdays, or Sabbath, when the Jewish part of Jerusalem seems to come to a standstill. The men’s teams play in the Open Tournament that includes Canada, Germany, Israel, Russia and the Unites States. The Masters Tournament for players over 40 includes Canada, Israel, Ukraine and the United States. And the U18 tournament is played with teams from Canada, Israel and the United States.

The Canadian Jews have been most successful at the last edition with famous coaches behind the bench: Guy Carbonneau at the men’s team and Jacques Demers in the over-40 category.

Israel will play with its regular players from IIHF events in the Maccabiah Games although not all of them will be able to come. “This will give a chance to younger players,” Ichilov said. “But it’s a minimum AAA and college players who come for Canada and the U.S. We don’t have any thoughts about them, we will fight, but it will be very difficult to compete with them. Our players are either students, in the army or working for their living,” he says.

The national team has had its ups and downs in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program. Peaking at the 28th-place finish in 2006, it went down to 41st in 2011. Currently Israel is 35th in the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Ranking.

“During the last three years the national team has gone from strength to strength,” he says and explains the history of hockey in Israel that has started by immigrants from North America and the Soviet Union.

“Before the immigration came, you could only see hockey on television. There was no hockey ever played. They used to skate on rollers but there was no inline hockey, no ice hockey,” he says. “Half of the population in Israel is immigrants.”

The many players born outside of Israel also made it difficult for them to become eligible to represent Israel internationally. Today Ichilov thinks that maybe a quarter of the 800 players was born outside of Israel.

“What we see now is a second generation to those who started hockey in Israel. In the Maccabiah Games we will see a few fathers in the veteran tournament whose kids are playing on the U20 or U18 national team,” he adds.

While most players from the recent Israeli men’s national team joined from local clubs, some try their luck abroad.

Eliezer Sherbatov is probably the most famous of them. Born in Israel and playing in Metulla, the forward born to Russian Jews went to North America and made it to the top level in Canadian junior hockey playing in the QMJHL. He then became a professional player in France and Kazakhstan.

One issue that has made development different was serving three years in the army. With the creation of the U20 team, an age group that used to have a lack in players due to the military service, the federation now aims at better conditions with delayed service or an athlete status at the army.

Roey Aharonovich and Yuval Rosenthal are two players who got the permission to delay the military service because they count as elite sports athlete under contract abroad. After leaving his hometown team Rishon, Aharonovich played junior hockey in the United States and will start college hockey at NCAA Division III level at the Neumann University. Rosenthal played junior hockey in Canada and is now with the Colorado State University.

The federation hopes that Ariel Kapulkin will also be granted a delay after having played junior hockey in the U.S.

“This is the reason that we have started two years ago to build up the U20 national team. The team consists of players who are due to go to the army. Once they finish high school, they have to go three years to the army. For those on the U20 national team we apply to be an active athlete in the army. Then they are given 90 days a year to go to camps and championships,” Ichilov explains.

Trying to combine the army and hockey is one aspect to improve the development of players, the other is grassroots hockey.

“There has been a lot of the development in the past four years. The current board of directors has been doing tremendous work in the development and with Gusin at the head I can say it’s something that hasn’t been done like that before. These are people who really think about the game and how to develop it, how to get youngsters involved and I’m sure it will go on like that,” he says. “We also have a development committee that is working in close relations with the IIHF and takes part in the camps. We started now to make our own courses for officials and start at a young age. We motivate former players to join as referees or administrators.”

The experience of organizing an international event at a big arena is one that Ichilov hopes to translate to IIHF hockey as well. The Ice Hockey Federation of Israel applied to host the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B in the same arena in Jerusalem but uncertainty about the dates and availability didn’t help in the vote. The tournament was eventually awarded to Spain.

“We have the support from the government to hold an IIHF event but we didn’t have the rink for that time. It’s difficult because it’s the biggest arena for basketball and the season doesn’t end before May. So it would have been impossible to get it earlier. But hopefully we can hold an IIHF event in Holon when we have the new rink in two years,” he says.

But first it’s time for Maccabiah ice hockey at the cool arena during the summer heat in Jerusalem. The men’s final on 15th July, which Ichilov predicts to be a Canada vs. USA game again, will be broadcast live on Israeli TV channel Sport5. Once the tournament is over, the arena is set to stay for public skating and ice shows before it will be dismantled.

Mexico Wins First Ever Ice Hockey Gold at Pan-Am

By Steve Ellis – Eurohockey. com

On the night of game six of the Stanley Cup finals, Mexico managed to finally secure their very first gold medal after beating Colombia 1-0 on home ice at the fourth Pan-American Ice Hockey Games.

Mexico was hungry to score the first goal of the contest after a dominant tournament from the start. In the past three tournaments, Mexico failed to take home the gold medal, including the past two years when Colombia took the victory.

In the dying minutes of the first, Mexico struck first. After countless opportunities in the opening period, Adrian Padilla made it 1-0 after staying close around the net and knocking in a rebound past Zack Frost, giving the hosts the advantage heading into the second frame. It turned out to be the only goal the team would need, defeating Colombia for their first ever gold medal, not only at the Pan-Am, but in men’s ice hockey competition.

The win capped off a perfect tournament for Mexico, who won all six games en route to a gold medal. The win comes after two straight losses to Colombia in the finals and a big defeat at the hands of Canada back in 2014, which resulted in silver medals all three years.

Earlier in the day, Argentina, who won just one previous game at the tournament this year, pulled off a 6-1 win over Mexico’s U18 team to secure their first medal. It was just their third win ever in hockey competition after beating Brazil 5-3 in 2014 and Chile 26-0 to start the tournament this year.

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