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Ice Hockey02 Dec 2021

Canada women prep for Games
Ottawa, Canada (SB Report):-Team Canada Black edged Team Canada Red 5-4 on an overtime breakaway goal by Calum Ritchie to earn first place at the Capital City Challenge on Wednesday.  Regulation time ended in electrifying fashion, as Riley Heidt put Team Canada Red ahead with just 29 seconds left, only to have tournament scoring leader Zach Benson tie it up with a zinger off the post at 19:59. Under head coach Troy Ryan, the reigning IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship gold medalists improved game by game in this unprecedented showdown against Canada’s top U17 male prospects (66 players from 44 Canadian Hockey League teams divided into three squads). Despite losing thrice in regulation and once in overtime, the women are following a process during pre-Olympic centralization designed to set them up for success.  “You’re super-proud to be here and super-proud to be part of it,” said Team Canada White head coach Rob Wilson. “You just want to make sure you give positive vibes to these young guys and make sure they feel a lot of positivity about what they’re doing.” Similarly, these experiences at the Arena at TD Place could prove instrumental for the squad captained by Marie-Philip Poulin. The Canadian women are pushing toward the dream of regaining their Olympic title in 2022. They could take away lots of positives even though they lost 6-1 to Team Canada White in the Capital City Challenge third-place game. The women, who fell 3-2 in a climactic shootout to the U.S. in the 2018 Olympic final, debut in Beijing against Switzerland on 3 February. “[The Canadian women] are a super-tight team and they’re super-relentless,” said Benson, who topped the scoring race with seven goals and 12 points. “They don’t take a shift off. Best of luck to them in the Olympics. Knowing we’re going to be watching that team compete versus other countries for Canada in a couple months, that’s going to be a pretty cool experience for sure.” In the semi-finals against Team Canada Black, the women rallied from a 3-0 deficit with three unanswered second-period goals in 3:37. Despite being outshot 50-20 while riding another heroic Ann-Renee Desbiens goaltending performance (106 saves on 120 total shots in two games for a 92.5 save percentage), they nearly pulled off an upset. Three-time Olympian Rebecca Johnston jumped out of the penalty box and got a breakaway in the final minute of regulation, but she was foiled by Team Canada Black netminder Joseph Costanzo, as was Emily Clark on her follow-up. Benson’s snipe 11 seconds into overtime gave Team Canada Black a 4-3 victory. “It took us a little bit to realize how we were going to play and be most effective against [the U17 players],” said forward Sarah Fillier, a breakout player at the Women’s Worlds in Calgary in August. “They’re big and strong, and we realized we were not going to be able to push them off the puck, so we’d have to attack their sticks.” Worth noting was the respect between the four teams. Every game was played hard but with good discipline and a skills-first mentality. Nobody wants to get hurt when IIHF glory or a Memorial Cup run could lie ahead in 2022. For the women, the lessons learned from countering the U17 players’ advantage in size, speed, and strength by relying on structure and smarts could pay dividends in Beijing. Keys include making quick, short passes while playing as a five-woman unit and going hard to the net to create opportunities. If Canada dethrones the U.S. on 17 February, it’ll likely stem from this kind of approach. “Our leadership group in general is so good about stepping up in moments where we need them to step up,” added Emma Maltais, who won her first gold in Calgary and scored Canada’s lone goal in the Capital City Challenge third-place game. “I think someone who says a lot in the locker room is Blayre Turnbull. She's someone that catches everybody’s attention when she talks and brings everybody together. She does a really good job of getting us all on the same page in between periods.”(Thanks to Lucas Aykroyd).

Ice Hockey01 Dec 2021

China withdraws Under-20 team
Beijing (SB Report):-The Chinese Ice Hockey Association (CIHA) has withdrawn its Under-20 Men’s National team that was entered to participate in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship program this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions. The men’s Under-20 team won’t participate in the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group B scheduled to take place in January in Serbia. The tournament will thus be played with five teams. The tournament in Belgrade includes host Serbia, Netherlands, Croatia, Belgium and Iceland. (Thanks to Martin Merk).

Ice Hockey26 Nov 2021

CHL field down to elite eight
Islamabad (Sports Desk):-Three Swedish teams, two from Finland and one each from the Czech Republic, Germany and France are the last eight teams standing after the round of 16 concluded on Wednesday, while the remaining teams from Switzerland, Austria and Italy were knocked out of the competition. All eight ties were settled in regulation time and one was decided by a single goal. The return games this past week saw a big comeback by Leksands IF, who overcame a four-goal deficit on aggregate. Unfortunately, one return game wasn’t played at all as Finnish authorities forced the cancellation of Lukko Rauma vs HC Bolzano for precautionary reasons after a Covid-19 scare. Based on the result of the first game, Lukko advances. Rogle Angelholm def. ZSC Lions Zurich 7-4 (4-3, 3-1) The first game in Zurich was tied 3-3 when Samuel Jonsson scored the game-winner with 32 seconds remaining, with Adam Tambellini assisting to cap a four-point night. The difference in the game was special teams, with Rogle going 3-for-3 on the power play. A week later in Angelholm, Yannick Weber scored the aggregate-equalizer in the 34th minute but Ludvig Larsson scored another Rogle power-play goal three minutes later and Dennis Everberg added another in the third. This is Rogle’s first appearance in the CHL, while Zurich appeared for the sixth time in its current form and won the previous edition of the Champions Hockey League in 2008/09. Sparta Prague def. Skelleftea AIK 4-3 (3-1, 1-2) Skelleftea outshot Sparta 53-37 over 120 minutes of hockey but great goaltending from Alexander Salak and Matej Machovsky combined with great team defence stifled the normally potent Skelleftea offence. Two points each from Erik Thorell and Vladimir Sobotka helped Sparta win 3-1 on the road and then captain Michal Repik widened the aggregate lead to three in the first period in Prague. Skelleftea got a couple of goals in the final period thanks to a goal and an assist from Linus Karlsson, but ran out of time to complete the comeback. Sparta went to the CHL Final in 2016/17 and also made the finals of the European Hockey League in 1999/2000 and IIHF European Champions Cup in 2007/08, but has yet to win a European club title. Frolunda Gotheburg def. Adler Mannheim 14-2 (10-1, 4-1) Mannheim was forced to play the first game with several regulars out of the lineup due to Covid-19 protocols and the four-time CHL champs took advantage in a big way, running up an insurmountable nine-goal victory in the first game in Germany. With little for either side to play for, Frolunda won again on home ice, this time 4-1, resulting in a margin of victory over two games that equalled the CHL’s largest ever. Ryan Lasch had six points in the first game to raise his all-time CHL-leading total to 105. Elmer Soderblom and Johan Sundstrom each had five points combined over the two games. Leksands IF def. KAC Klagenfurt 8-5 (0-4, 8-1) Leksand dug itself a hole in Carinthia by losing 4-0 in the first game, in which Johannes Bischofberger had four points, Thomas Hundertpfund had three and Sebastian Dahm made 36 saves for the shutout. The Danish national team netminder had no magic left in the return game, however, as he was beaten seven times on 49 shots. Carter Camper and Justin Kloos had four points each and Emil Heineman recorded a hat trick as Leksand came all the way back to win on aggregate by three, with the last goal going into an empty Klagenfurt net. Red Bull Munich def. Fribourg-Gotteron 7-4 (4-2, 3-2) Thanks to a four-goal second period, Munich won the first game in Switzerland by two goals and was looking good with the return game in Bavaria still scoreless after two periods. However, Fribourg struck for two fluky goals in the first 2:22 of the final frame and it was all tied on aggregate. But 2018/19 CHL MVP Trevor Parkes put Munich back up for good just 1:33 later. Parkes led Munich with three points across two games, while linemate Frederik Tiffels and Ben Smith had two each. Munich reached the CHL final in 2018/19, the only time a German team has reached the title game of a European club championship. Lukko Rauma def. HC Bolzano 3-1 (3-1, 2nd game cancelled) In northern Italy, Lukko got two points each from Scott Pooley and Vili Saarijarvi en route to a 3-1 win over Bolzano. And that was it. On Tuesday, the CHL announced that the second game would not be played as scheduled on orders from local health authorities in Finland as a precautionary measure after a number of Lukko players entered Covid protocol. The next day, it was announced that there was no time to make the game up ahead of the quarter-finals and the 3-1 Lukko victory from the first game in Bolzano would stand as a complete series result. Lukko previously reached the CHL semi-finals in 2015/16. Tappara Tampere def. Vaxjo Lakers 6-4 (2-2, 4-2) Vaxjo and Tappara traded two goals each in the first 24 minutes of the first game in Vaxjo, then settled into a cautious defensive game, which ended in a tie. The following week in Tampere, the Lakers led 2-1 with just 20 minutes remaining but the home team stormed back with a big third period, getting the tying and go-ahead goals by Patrik Virta and Anton Levtchi just 1:39 apart. Tappara is making its seventh straight CHL appearance and topped its group for the fifth time this year, but this is the first time it has advanced to the quarter-finals. Rouen Dragons def. Red Bull Salzburg 4-3 (3-0, 1-3) Slovenian goalie Matija Pintaric has been one of the biggest stories of this year’s CHL and he followed up a 33-save shutout in the first game in Rouen with a 51-save performance in the return game in Salzburg. The Dragons got a couple of late goals at home to win 3-0 and they needed every one of them as Salzburg chipped away at their lead and eventually tied it on aggregate on a goal by Jan-Mikael Jarvinen with 10:22 to play. But with 5:12 to go, Dylan Yeo sent a shot toward the net and Rolands Vigners deflected it in, giving Rouen the decisive goal on aggregate. In 2018/19, the Dragons became the first French team to make the CHL’s round of 16 and they are now the first French team to make the quarter-finals. Quarter-final matchups: Rogle Angelholm (SWE) vs Sparta Prague (CZE) Frolunda Gothenburg (SWE) vs Leksands IF (SWE) Red Bull Munich (GER) vs Lukko Rauma (FIN) Tappara Tampere (FIN) vs Rouen Dragons (FRA) The quarter-finals will be played over two legs – first games are scheduled for 7/8 December and the return games a week later on 14/15 December – with each team playing one game at home. The schedule, to be announced in the coming days, will be based solely on factors such as arena availability and broadcasting obligations. The semi-finals will be played in January also over two legs and CHL final is a one-game showdown to be played after the Olympic Break on 1 March 2022. (Thanks to Derek O'Brien).

Ice Hockey25 Nov 2021

Women: Chinese Taipei withdraws Under-18
Islamabad (Sports Desk):-Chinese Taipei will miss out on its debut at the IIHF Ice Hockey Under-18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B level due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Chinese Taipei Ice Hockey Federation has withdrawn its U18 women’s team from the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B in Radenthein, Austria. Due to the Covid-19 situation worldwide and strict quarantine restrictions for persons returning from abroad, the number of players willing to travel to the event was not sufficient to form a team for the tournament. Chinese Taipei, which was originally promoted to the Division I Group B, hopes to be back with an U18 women’s team in 2023. Previously Australia and New Zealand had withdrawn their teams for tournaments in January due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19 while other teams remain entered including the first-time participation of Iceland and Latvia in this category. (Thanks to Martin Merk). The 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship Division I Group B will now take place in January 2022 with a revised game schedule and the five teams Denmark, Austria, China, Korea and Poland. The other divisions will be played in Sweden, Hungary and Turkey.

Ice Hockey23 Nov 2021

Ice Hockey: Saryarka & Cracovia to Final Four
Islamabad (Sports Desk):-Saryarka Karaganda and Cracovia Krakow will make up two of the four teams at 2021/22 IIHF Continental Cup final in early January. This was confirmed after they finished first and second, respectively, in this past weekend’s Group E third-round tournament at Adam “Roch” Kowalski Arena in Krakow, Poland. Saryarka, the defending champion from Kazakhstan, earned its place among the final four on Saturday, while host Cracovia needed till overtime of the last game on Sunday night. Saryarka won the group with a perfect nine points, followed by Cracovia and HK Poprad from Slovakia with four each and Asiago Hockey from Italy with one. Cracovia earned second place over Poprad by virtue of winning their head-to-head meeting in a shootout. Action began on Friday with Poprad beating Asiago 3-1 and Saryarka shutting out Cracovia 2-0. It looked for a while like Group E’s top two finishers would be determined on Saturday, with Saryarka having won each of its first two games and Poprad minutes away from following suit. In Saturday’s early game, Saryarka beat Asiago 4-2, which all but assured that the Kazakh club would be advancing. Saturday’s nightcap between Cracovia and Poprad was a tight affair that was tied 1-1 after one period and 2-2 after two. Eight minutes into a nerve-racking third period, David Skokan scored on a penalty shot, and that looked like it might hold up to put the team from the High Tatras through until Damian Kapica tied it back up on a Cracovia power play with 4:05 to go. After a scoreless overtime period, Cracovia won the shootout 2-1, with Czech Erik Nemec scoring the winning goal in the third round. That result also guaranteed that Saryarka would advance, as it could no longer finish lower than second, but the second spot was up for grabs between two teams. The Kazakhs needed one point from their final game against Poprad to secure first place but did better than that with a 4-0 win in a dominant performance. The loss was a major setback for Poprad, whose hopes now hinged on Asiago beating host Cracovia in the final game of the weekend. In a dramatic last game before a partisan crowd of 1500, Cracovia led 1-0 after one period but Asiago battled back with two goals 1:48 apart in the second by Anthony Salintiri – one on a 4-on-3 power play and one 4-on-4 and both while Martin Dudas’ major penalty for checking to the head was in effect – to take the lead. Dmitri Ismagilov’s blast from the point with 40 seconds left in the middle frame made it 2-2 after two. Cracovia dominated most of the third period looking for the go-ahead goal and finally got it with 8:30 to play at the tail end of a wild goalmouth scramble, when Ivan Yatsenko banked a shot from below the goal line off goaltender Gianluca Vallini’s skate and in. Cracovia had all the momentum but Asiago didn’t quit, and with 5:23 to go, Marco Magnabosco converted a pass from Salintiri and went top corner to tie it again. The game went to overtime, where Artem Voroshilo won it on the power play on a set-up by Saku Kinnunen. Four players earned four points over three games this weekend: Nikita Anokhovski of Saryarka, Salintiri of Asiago, and Skokan and Patrik Svitana of Poprad, with Anokhovski the only player to score three goals. Saryarka’s Viktor Seliverstov was the class among goalies, earning Group E’s only two shutouts, while his goal-against average of 0.67 and save percentage of 97.22 were far-and-away the best. Neither of these teams has previously medalled at this event. This is the third time Saryarka has participated in the Continental Cup, but this is its first trip to the Final Round. Cracovia has participated on seven previous occasions and made the Final Round the last time the tournament was held in 2019/20 and finished fourth in Vojens, Denmark. Cracovia has also twice played in the Champions Hockey League. Arlan Kokshetau became the first Kazakh team to ever win the Continental Cup in 2018/19. That was preceded by second-place finishes of Beibarys Atyrau and Nomad Astana in the previous two seasons. The best-ever placements by Polish teams were third-place finishes by GKS Tychy in 2015/16 and GKS Katowice in 2018/19. Saryarka and Cracovia will join the Aalborg Pirates of Denmark and HK Gomel of Belarus – the top two finishers in Group F – in the IIHF Continental Cup Final Round, to be played 7-9 January and hosted by one of the four participating teams. (Thanks to Derek O'Brien).

Ice Hockey20 Nov 2021

Women Under-18 back in action
Sports Desk ISLMABAD (November 20, 2021):-Last year many of the programs were not operating due to Covid-19 restrictions in amateur and junior hockey. The comeback to international exhibition games was thus a welcome change for the young players that are the future of women’s hockey and for most it was the first international game ever, for others the first since the last Under-18 Women’s Worlds in 2020. While many of the top teams didn’t cross the border, Finland and Sweden held exhibition games at the Finnish team’s base in Kuortane that ended with two wins in three games for the home team. The Swedes opened the scoring in the first game with a Mira Markstrom goal at 10:12. Finland’s lionesses got stronger and outshot their opponent 24-15 but the only other goal was an empty-netter from Emma Pfeffer with 3:04 left to play. The Finnish forwards eventually succeeded in the second game already in the early minutes. Moona Keskisarja hit the back of the net at 3:43 and just over two minutes later Adalmiina Makkonen made it 2-0. The period ended with an Oona Havana power-play goal. Pauliina Salonen added another PP marker midway the second period for the final score of 4-0. Finnish goaltender Emilia Kyrkko also had a shutout the day after with a total of 39 saves in two games as Finland edged Sweden 2-0. Tilli Keranen broke a scoreless tie midway the game and Salonen added her second marker of the series on a power play at 3:25 of the third frame. Hockey in four venues Two more top-division teams were involved in the Four Nations Tournament in Radenthein, Austria where the Czechs were a class of their own beating Norway 13-2, Austria 12-0 and top-division rival Germany 6-1. Barbora Jurickova impressed with 10 points (4+6) from three games followed by her teammate Tereza Plosova with eight (2+6). Eliska Hotova, Nicol Prihodova and Tereza Pistekova also scored four goals. Germany finished the event in second place with a 1-0 win against neighbouring rival Austria thanks to the late game-winner from Katharina Hackelsmiller. In the last game the Germans beat Norway 4-1. After Suphattra Chaiyasan had brought Norway on the scoreboard at 11:14 the Germans reacted with four unanswered goals. Annabella Sterzik tied it up 13 seconds later followed by a power-play goal form Hackelsmiller late in the period, Sterzik’s second goal in the middle frame and an empty-netter from Lola Liang. The tournament was also a test for teams that play outside the top division too. Norway, promoted to the Division IA, finished in third place thanks to a 4-1 win against Austria. The Austrians play one tier below in the Division IB and the tournament was a test both on and off the ice as the venue in Radenthein will host the six-team IIHF event in January. The Division IA will take place in Gyor, Hungary, which was the venue of a three-team tournament last week with all three teams coming back in January. Hungary won it thanks to one-goal wins against France and Italy. The French claimed second place beating Italy 5-2. The IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship program grows with the first-time participation of Iceland and Latvia in Istanbul while Australia and New Zealand will be missing in this and the men’s U20 category this winter due to travel restrictions in their countries related to Covid-19. Scores Series in Finland 10 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland vs Sweden (0-2) 11 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland vs Sweden (4-0) 12 Nov. Kuortane (FIN) Finland vs Sweden (2-0) 4 Nations Tournament in Austria 12 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Norway vs Czech Rep. (2-13) 12 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Austria vs Germany (0-1) 13 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Germany vs Czech Rep. (1-6) 13 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Austria vs Norway (1-4) 14 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Germany vs Norway (4-1) 14 Nov. Radenthein (AUT) Czech Rep. vs Austria (12-0) Standings: 1. Czech Republic 9, 2. Germany 6, 3. Norway 3, 4. Austria 0 3 Nations Tournament in Hungary 11 Nov. Gyor (HUN) Hungary vs Italy (2-1) 12 Nov. Gyor (HUN) France vs Italy (5-2) 13 Nov. Gyor (HUN) Hungary vs France (3-2) Standings: 1. Hungary 6, 2. France 3, 3. Italy 0 4 Nations Tournament in Iceland 11 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Spain vs Great Britain (4-0) 11 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Iceland vs Poland               (2-3) 12 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Great Britain vs Poland (2-1) 12 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Spain vs Iceland (8-0) 13 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Spain vs Poland (4-3) 13 Nov. Reykjavik (ISL) Iceland vs Great Britain (2-1) SO Standings: 1. Spain 9, 2. Great Britain 4, 3. Poland 3, 4. Iceland 2

Ice Hockey19 Nov 2021

Canadian women complete sweep in Finland
Sports Desk ISLAMABAD (November 19, 2021):-Canada, the defending women’s world champion, opened the three-game set with a 4-2 win on Thursday but the victory didn’t come easy. Canada struggled to find its offence in the first period but did open to scoring when Victoria Bach beat Meeri Raisanen at the 14:32 mark. Canada and Finland stayed tight in shots in the first but Canada came out guns a blazing in the second, scoring two goals during a period in which it outshot the Finns 23-3. Canada ended up holding a significant advantage in shots in the game at 44-19 and won the game 4-2, with the other goals coming from Marie-Philip Poulin, Melodie Daoust and Jocelyne Larocque. Emerance Maschmeyer stopped 17 shots for the win in goal. Game 2 of the series on Saturday was the most one-sided of the bunch, with Natalie Spooner leading the way with a hat trick in Canada’s 8-0 win. Kristen Campbell, in her national tam debut, made 13 saves for her first win and shutout. Poulin scored twice, Daoust had a goal and two assists, and Jaime Bourbonnais and Laura Stacey scored Canada’s other goals, while Claire Thompson had three helpers. “I think our team as a whole, we were rolling today and creating a lot of offence,” said Spooner. “It’s always nice when they’re going in for you and I thought my line did a really good job of getting pucks to the net and I was able to bury some. Our team really talked about getting off to a good start and setting the tone. For (Victoria Bach) to make that pass to me in the first period for a breakaway, it felt pretty good to bury that one and set the tone for the game.” Canada completed the three-game sweep a day later with a 5-1 win. Bach scored twice, Brianne Jenner had a goal and two assists and Sarah Fillier and Ella Shelton each had a goal and assist. Ann-Renee Desbiens earned the win in net. Susanna Tapani scored Finland’s lone marker. Canada seems to be firing on all cylinders as it prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Canada will continue its rivalry series versus the United States on Nov. 21 in Kingston, Ontario after winning the first two games of the series on Oct. 22 and 25, with both games taking place in the US. Emily Clark scored two goals, including an empty-netter, as Canada opened the nine-game rivalry series with a 3-1 win Allentown, Pennsylvania. Three nights later in Hartford, Connecticut, Fillier broke a 2-2 tie with a powerplay goal in the third period to give Canada a 3-2 win. It was Fillier’s second goal of the game, with Bach also scoring for Canada. The rivalry series will see the teams play seven more times between now and early January with games taking place throughout Canada and the United States. The frequency of games should add more heat to an already sizzling rivalry. “We’re really excited to play in Kingston,” says Bach. “It’s close to my hometown so a lot of family can come watch. With Covid-19 we haven’t had fans, so we’re all really excited to play on home soil and get to play against our rivals. We’re really looking forward to it.” European sweep against Asian teams In other women’s hockey action, Switzerland and Japan played a three-game series in Romanshorn from 11-13 November. Switzerland won all three games but each of the matches were close, with the Swiss coming out on the better end of 2-1, 3-2 and 5-2 scores. Phoebe Staenz and Lara Stalder scored in the second period for the Swiss in the Game 1 win, with Haruka Toko getting a goal in the third to make it close. Staenz once again opened the scoring in the second game but Japan would get two goals in the middle frame – from Mei Miura and Sena Suzuki – to take a 2-1 lead into the third period. Midway through the third, Lara Christen tied the game up at 2-2 to force overtime and, just 1:14 into the OT period, Laura Zimmermann was the hero to give the Swiss a 3-2 win. Staenz scored two more goals in the third and final game of the series and Switzerland’s other goals came from Nicole Bullo, Lena Lutz and Alina Marti in the 5-2 win. Rui Ukita and Remi Koyama replied for the Japanese. In the Moscow suburb of Mytishi where Chinese club team Kunlun Red Star has its base for both the men’s and women’s team, the Chinese women’s national team played host country Russia in two games. The Russians won the first game 3-1 but needed a shootout for a 2-1 victory in the second game. All teams used the mini-series as a tune-up for the upcoming Olympics. The top-five teams will play in Group A including the United States, Canada, Finland, ROC and Switzerland, while Group B includes Japan, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Denmark and host China. The Swedes, Czechs and Danes all qualified for Beijing 2022 at last weekend’s final qualification tournament in Lulea, Sweden. The preliminary round is played in two tiers and the five teams in Group A and the top-three teams from B will advance to the quarter-finals at the Olympics. Scores Games in Finland                               11 Nov.                Helsinki (FIN) Finland vs Canada (2-4) 13 Nov.                Turku (FIN) Finland Canada (0-8) 14 Nov.                Turku (FIN) Finland vs Canada (1-5) Games in Switzerland     11 Nov.                Romanshorn (SUI) Switzerland vs Japan (2-1) 12 Nov.                Romanshorn (SUI) Switzerland vs Japan (              3-2) OT 13 Nov.                Romanshorn (SUI) Switzerland vs Japan (5-2) Games in Russia                                 3 Nov.   Mytishi (RUS) China vs Russia (1-3) 5 Nov.   Mytishi (RUS) China vs Russia (1-2) SO (Thanks to Chris Jurewicz)  

Ice Hockey19 Nov 2021

USA Under-18 guys fill the net
Sports Desk ISLAMABAD (November 19, 2021):-The United States’ men’s national under-18 team doesn’t have a problem scoring goals. It also can keep the puck out of its net and that combination can prove lethal for Team USA’s opponents. The Americans scored 30 goals and gave up just five during an impressive and dominant four-game stretch at the Five Nations U18 tournament from 10-14 November in Monthey, Switzerland. Team USA opened its tournament with a 5-2 win over Sweden, which was the Americans’ closest game of the event. Jimmy Snuggerud had a natural hat trick, Marek Hejduk and Isaac Howard added singles and Tyler Muszelik got the win in net. Logan Cooley had two assists for the winning team. Sweden’s goals came from Tim Almgren and Filip Bystedt. The United States then faced off against the host Swiss team and got goals from six different players en route to a 7-0 win. Defenceman Seamus Casey scored twice and Frank Nazar, Howard, Hunter Brzustewicz, Rutger McGroarty and Cutter Gauthier scored a goal each for the winning side. Michael Chambre earned the shutout in net. Team USA really opened the floodgates in their third and fourth games, scoring nine goals in each. Howard had two goals and two assists, Lane Hutson had four helpers and McGroarty, Gavin Brindley and Colley each had three points for Team USA in a 9-1 win over Czech Republic. Adam Dvorak scored for the Czechs. The Americans’ final game was a 9-2 win over Finland, with Snuggerud getting three goals and an assist, and Cole and Gauthier also each having four-point nights. Jani Nyman scored twice for the Finns. Sweden finished the tournament in second place at 3-1, with its lone blemish the loss to the Americans. The Swedes beat Switzerland 2-0 on the strength of two goals by Fabian Wagner and a shutout by Lukas Swedin. Sweden also edged rival Finland 4-3 in a wild game that almost saw the Finns come back from a 4-1 deficit. Elias Salomonsson and Leo Carlsson each scored twice for the winners, with Lenni Hameenaho scoring for Finland and Aleksanteri Kaskimaki and Kasper Halttunen getting goals in the third for Finland, who was down 4-1 after 40 minutes. In their final game, the Swedes edged Switzerland 3-1. Belarus continues to impress Piestany played host to an under-18 men’s 4 Nations tournament and it was Belarus that would come out on top after having already had a strong showing at the U18 Worlds last spring. Similar to the Americans at the event in Switzerland, the Belarusians scored a bunch and gave up but a few. Belarus opened with a 5-0 shutout of Germany, with Yan Shostak stopping all 19 shots in the Belarus net. Leonid Bulgakov, with two, Matvei Ladutsko, Semyon Morshchenok and Matvei Shidlovski scored for Belarus. The tournament champs also dispatched of Denmark 5-2 (goals by Bulgakov, Danil Karpovich, Arseni Kovgorenya, Yegor Sevko and Dmitri Tukach) and Slovakia 4-0. In the latter game, Shostak got another shutout and Kovgorenya, Vladislav Naumov, Shidlovski and Tukach scored the goals. A couple of other under-18 men’s tournaments held from Nov. 11-13. In Szekesfehervar, Slovenia finished with a 3-0 record in a 4 Nations event that also included host Hungary, Austria and Italy. Hungary finished second at 2-1, Austria edged Italy in a shootout 3-2 to finish in third place, with Italy going winless to take fourth. And in Vaujany, France, the host team went 2-1 in a tournament that included Switzerland, Slovakia and Germany. France earned wins over Germany and Switzerland but lost to Slovakia. The Slovaks went 2-0 by also defeating the Germans. Results: 5 Nations Tournament in Switzerland 10 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  USA vs Sweden (5-2) 10 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Switzerland vs Finland (1-6) 11 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Sweden vs Czech Rep. (2-0) 11 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  USA vs Switzerland (7-0) 12 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Sweden                vs Finland (4-3) 12 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Czech Rep. vs USA (1-9) 13 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Finland Czech Rep. (5-4) 13 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Switzerland vs Sweden (                1-3) 14 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Finland vs USA (2-9) 14 Nov.                Monthey (SUI)  Czech Rep. vs Switzerland (0-2) Standings: 1. USA 12, 2. Sweden 9, 3. Finland 6, 4. Switzerland 3, 5. Czech Republic 0 4 Nations Tournament in Slovakia 11 Nov.                Piestany (SVK)   Slovakia vs Denmark (5-1) 11 Nov.                Piestany (SVK)   Belarus vs Germany (5-0) 12 Nov.                Piestany (SVK)   Denmark vs Belarus (2-5) 12 Nov.                Piestany (SVK)   Slovakia                vs Germany (1-3) 13 Nov.                Piestany (SVK)   Germany vs Denmark (4-0) 13 Nov.                Piestany (SVK)   Slovakia                vs vs Belarus (0-4)  Standings: 1. Belarus 9, 2. Germany 6, 3. Slovakia 3, 4. Denmark 0  4 Nations Tournament in Hungary 11 Nov.                Szekesfehervar (HUN)    Slovenia vs Italy (4-3) 11 Nov.                Szekesfehervar (HUN)    Hungary vs Austria (4-2) 12 Nov.                Szekesfehervar (HUN)    Austria vs Slovenia (2-4) 12 Nov.                Szekesfehervar (HUN)    Hungary vs Italy (9-0) 13 Nov.                Szekesfehervar (HUN)    Italy vs Austria (2-3) SO 13 Nov.                Szekesfehervar (HUN)    Hungary vs Slovenia (1-4)  Standings: 1. Slovenia 9, 2. Hungary 6, 3. Austria 2, 4. Italy 1  4 Nations Tournament in France 11 Nov.                Vaujany (FRA)    Switzerland vs Slovakia (cancelled) 11 Nov.                Vaujany (FRA)    France vs Germany (6-3) 12 Nov.                Vaujany (FRA)    Germany vs Switzerland (1-4) 12 Nov.                Vaujany (FRA)    France vs Slovakia (2-3) 13 Nov.                Vaujany (FRA)    Slovakia                vs Germany (8-1) 13 Nov.                Vaujany (FRA)    France vs Switzerland (4-1)  Standings: 1.Slovakia 6, 2. France 6, 3. Switzerland 3, 4. Germany 0 (Thanks to Chris Jurewicz).

Ice Hockey16 Nov 2021

Sweden wins Karjala Tournament
Sports Desk ISLAMABAD:-Sweden took the honours in the first stage of this season’s Euro Hockey Tour, defeating Finland in Sunday’s decisive game at the Karjala Tournament in Helsinki. The Tre Kronor enjoyed a perfect weekend at the start of the international campaign, beginning with a 4-1 win over the Czechs in Linkoping before heading to the Finnish capital to beat Russia 4-2 and Finland 3-1. The game against neighbouring Finland was a winner-take-all clash, with both teams victorious in their opening games. However, Sweden always held a slight advantage and converted that into an opening goal from Anton Lander late in the first period. The middle frame brought two more goals for the visitor, with Jesper Olofsson and Henrik Tommernes on target before Heikki Liedes potted a consolation effort for Suomi in the third. Earlier on Sunday, Russia defeated the Czech Republic 5-2 to take third place. Once again, the Russians played a youthful roster – 25-year-olds Alexander Yelesin and Danil Vovchenko were the elder statesmen on the team – but unlike last season the Red Machine found it tough against more experienced European opposition. Sweden’s roster was uncharacteristically light on KHL players this time, with Johann Garpenlov choosing to take a look at his Swiss-based players. The likes of Lander, Tommernes, Olofsson, Niklas Hansson, Mathias Brome and Carl Klingberg all featured in the Karjala Tournament but will be unavailable for December’s Channel 1 Cup due to club commitments. That could open the door for several KHLers to take part in the tournament in Moscow. That tournament will also feature a Canadian line-up. Russian Hockey Federation vice-president Roman Rotenberg confirmed that Hockey Canada had asked to take part, explaining that Canada wanted to prepare a team of European-based players in case the Covid-19 situation makes it impossible for NHLers to go to the Olympics in February. Michkov makes an instant impact While Sweden took the honours in Helsinki, Russia’s 16-year-old star Matvei Michkov wrote plenty of headlines. The SKA St. Petersburg prospect became the youngest ever player to represent Russia or the USSR, making his debut in Thursday’s game against Finland at the tender age of 16 years, 11 months and two days. That smashed the record set by Alexander Ovechkin in 2003 as the youngest skater on a Russian team, and the all-time Russian and Soviet record held by legendary goalie Vladislav Tretyak since 1968. Ovechkin and Tretyak were the only players to represent the Red Machine at the age of 17; Nikita Chibrikov became the third to do so at the weekend. Meanwhile, Michkov was by no means overawed in that exulted company. In his second appearance, Saturday’s 2-4 loss to Sweden, he became his country’s youngest ever goal scorer – and how! Early in the second period, the teenager collected the puck behind Gustaf Lindvall’s net and executed a lacrosse goal. The following day, Michkov was on the scoresheet again as a youthful Russian team signed off with a 5-2 win over the Czechs to take third place in the competition. Like any sniper, though, Michkov’s thoughts were as much on the chance he missed as the goal he so spectacularly scored. “In the first period I should have scored, but the puck didn’t quite drop for me. In the second, when I scored, everything fell into place; the puck dropped onto the crook, I decided to give it a go and it all worked out,” he said after the game. “I don’t even remember when I first learned that trick, but if you keep slaving away at it, you can work these things out.” Meanwhile, the SKA youngster got rave reviews from his clubmate Lars Johansson, who was understudy to Lindvall for the game against Russia. “Michkov’s goal was unreal,” he told RIA Novosti. “I know how much of a skilled player he is, but I’m still amazed by how quick his hands are, how quickly he reads the situation. “When I was 16, I was nowhere near that level. Michkov is a unique talent, and I’ve seen how hard he works. I hope he’ll just get better and better. “He’s scored on me more than once in practice and, believe me, he’s scored some crazy goals there, but I’ve never seen a ‘lacrosse’ goal before. Matvei loves to compete, so it’s always fun to come up against him.” Germany triumphs in Deutschland Cup Three wins from three saw the host nation top the standings in Krefeld. This four-team contest came down to a winner-takes-all showdown between Germany and Slovakia on Sunday afternoon and Toni Soderholm’s team came out on top with a 4-1 verdict. Leonhard Pfoderl opened the scoring after 14 seconds, Tobias Rieder led the scoring with two goals and an assist, while Marcel Noebels had two helpers. Dominik Bittner was the other German scorer, while Samuel Bucek got Slovakia’s consolation effort. Switzerland took third place in the group after recovering from 0-2 to post a 3-2 victory over Russia ‘B’. Long-serving captain Andres Ambuhl started the fightback, Sven Andrighetto potted the equalizer and Inti Pestoni grabbed the winning in the final minutes. Rieder’s game-winning display against Slovakia helped him to the top of the scoring charts with 5 (4+1) points. Noebels’ handful of assists saw him join his colleague on five, while Pfoderl finished with 4 (3+1) from the weekend. Young Belarusians impress in Slovenia Slovenia hosted a four-team tournament in Jesenice, inviting Belarus, France and Austria to the competition. For three of the teams, this was a chance to prepare for the World Championship promotion campaign in Division IA in the spring, while for Belarus it was an opportunity to build a team ready for elite pool action in Finland in May. With that in mind, the Belarusians brought a young roster to the competition and named 20-year-old Ilya Usov as captain. The formula was successful: after edging past Austria in overtime in the opening game, the Belarusians went on to top the standings with wins over Slovenia (3-0) and France (6-3). Austria took second place with OT victories in its other two games, while France’s 3-2 success against the host nation secured third place. Slovenia managed just three goals in three games, giving head coach Matjaz Kopitar plenty to ponder before hosting Division IA in April. Denmark hosted a three-way affair involving Norway and Latvia, with all three countries agreeing to bring experimental rosters to the games in Esbjerg and Vojens. The host nation enjoyed two victories, beating Latvia 5-1 and Norway 3-1. In the third game, Latvia blanked the Norwegians for a 3-0 win. Hungary also staged a three-team event involving Italy and Ukraine. The host nation came out on top, winning 4-1 against Italy and 2-1 against Ukraine. The Italians pipped the Ukrainians to second place, winning in a shoot-out against a team depleted by last minute withdrawals on arrival in Budapest. Estonia hosted the Baltic Challenge Cup that after two wins for both teams ended with a winner-takes-it-all game between Poland and Estonia that the Poles won easily 8-1. Latvia’s B-team finished in third place getting its only win against Lithuania, 6-1. (Thanks to Andy Potts)  

Ice Hockey14 Nov 2021

Seven teams with Olympic dreams
Sports Desk ISLAMABAD:-The final Olympic Qualification comes to an end today with the last games to be played in the Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden. Of the 12 teams that started on Thursday, seven remain in the race for three tickets to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing. In the Chinese capital the three qualifiers will be seeded in Group B with already qualified Japan and host China. The top-five teams USA, Canada, Finland, ROC and Switzerland will play in Group A of the two-tiered Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament. Group C: Czech Republic & Hungary: Czech Republic enters the last day from first place after solid wins while Hungary is tied in points after getting its second win in a dramatic finish against Norway. That sets up a winner-takes-it-all game in Chomutov between the two unbeaten teams. Whichever team wins the game will become a first-time participant in Olympic women’s ice hockey. In their most recent encounter the Czechs beat Hungary 4-2 at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. Group D: Denmark, Austria & Germany; Denmark is the only undefeated team of the tournament after two games while Austria and Germany remain in contention with a 1-1 record. The scenario was mainly caused by Austria’s 3-0 upset win over Germany on Thursday. With the maximum of points after two days, Denmark has it in its own hands. The Danes just need one more point from the game against Germany to claim first place without having to rely on the evening game, which means a win or tie after 60 minutes will be enough. In case of a loss in regulation time the Danes would not be able to finish first and be overtaken by either Germany or Austria in the final ranking. If it were only Denmark and Germany with six points while Austria would lose points to Italy, the Germans would finish in first place because the win in the mutual game would be the tie-breaker. If Germany beat Denmark in regulation time and Austria beat Italy in regulation time in the last game, it would create a three-team tie at six points. The three teams would also be tied in head-to-head points (3), in which case the head-to-head goal difference would be the next criteria. Austria leads with +2 and Germany would have to beat Denmark with a six-goal margin or better to take over. For Austria it means hoping that Germany scores a regulation time win with a margin of no more than five goals in the early game before they would have to beat Italy in regulation time. Group E: Sweden & France Both Sweden and France had solid performances in Lulea and lead the standings with six points and a better goal difference favouring Sweden. But for the final standings it will only matter who wins. It’s a winner-take-all game between host Sweden and France for a ticket to Beijing 2022. In their only IIHF-sanctioned games, Sweden had two one-goal wins against France at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship that ended with relegation for both teams. More recently the two teams played exhibition games with Sweden winning two out of three games in Albertville in August and got an 8-0 win in a pre-competition game last Sunday. Can the Swedes do it again? If not, they would miss out on the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament for the first time while the French women’s national team would participate at the Olympics for the first time. (Thanks to Martin Merk).