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ICE HOCKEY News
IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey: Germany makes quarterfinals
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD: Germany overcame Switzerland 3-2 to confirm the berth in the quarterfinals stage of the IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship 2022, after a hard-fought affair. After Saturday's loss, Switzerland’s quarter-final hopes are up in the air. Coach Marco Bayer's boys need a win in their last group stage game against Austria on Monday. Both teams are pointless through three games. Versus the Swiss, Bennet Rossmy set the pace for Germany with a goal and an assist. Fellow forwards Thomas Heigl and Haakon Hanelt each added a single. Yannick Proske had a pair of helpers. "I think we had a really good start," Rossmy said. "We got two goals [in the first period]. We got the momentum after the power play. I think we just worked hard together. We blocked shots and we drove to the net. It was just incredible to see how the team worked together and the motivation on the bench." Captain Simon Knak and Jonas Taibel scored for Switzerland, German starting goalie Florian Bugl won his duel with Switzerland’s Kevin Pasche as Germany outshot Switzerland 29-25. "Today was not a good game," Knak said. "We all know that when we play our best game, we would win against Germany. I think we're a better-skilled team. But at the end, the battle level was not enough." After outshooting Austria 44-17 in their preceding 4-2 win, coach Tobias Abstreiter's Germans had positive vibes heading into this contest. Recent history was on Deutschland's side too. Despite an undermanned roster and a 16-2 loss to Canada in 2021, Germany achieved a sixth-place finish in the Edmonton pandemic bubble. Conversely, the Swiss were coming off a tough 7-1 loss to the defending champion Americans, and didn't fully get up to speed until the third period, when they outshot Germany 14-4. The German power play entered this game clicking at an impressive 42.8 percent (3-for-7), whereas the Swiss PP was the tournament’s worst (0-for-8) through two games. Bursting out of the gate with a palpable sense of urgency, Germany came close but couldn’t capitalize on its first man advantage with Knak off for hooking. Rossmy, though, found the range on the rush, beating an off-guard Pasche with a high glove-side wrister at 5:37. The 19-year-old Eisbaren Berlin forward’s first World Junior goal was a little slice of redemption. In the 5-1 opening loss to the U.S., Rossmy was kicked out with a checking-to-the-head major that led to Logan Cooley’s winner. "I'm feeling way better," Rossmy said. "The first two games were a little bit hard for me. A little bit heavy legs! It didn't go so well for me personally, but I think now I'm in the tournament." At 8:16, Thomas Heigl stretched the German lead to 2-0. On a broken play, Proske’s flubbed slap shot deflected to him near Pasche’s right post and the twin brother of Nikolaus Heigl bounced it in. Knak struck back with just nine seconds left to cut the deficit to 2-1. Accepting a nice backhand pass from Dario Allenspach on a 2-on-1 rush, he beat Bugl high to the blocker side. Swiss supporters hoped it would be a momentum-shifter. To start the second period, bitterness surged and a neutral-zone scrum ensued when Switzerland's Joshua Fahrni kneed Germany's Danjo Leonhardt and was sent off for two minutes. Just past the midway mark, Hanelt had a chance to give Germany a two-goal lead on a breakaway when he chased down a long flip pass in the Swiss zone, but the puck was still bouncing, and the Berlin-trained Gatineau Olympiques forward put it into Pasche's pads. Hanelt wasn't to be denied again, though. He busted through the neutral zone, cut around defender Rodwin Dionicio in the left faceoff circle, and zinged a wrister far side past Pasche's blocker at 16:43. It was a fitting reward in a period where Germany outshot its opponents 14-5. To wrap up the middle frame, Switzerland's woes increased when Knak was sent off for carelessly pushing German assistant captain Maksymilian Szuber into the end boards. Knak emphasized that there was room for Swiss improvement all around: "We need to be sharper in the D-zone. We forwards need to be [coming] harder back so that the D can pressure." In the final stanza, an early Nikolaus Heigl high-sticking penalty on Fahrni opened the door for Switzerland to get back into it. But the PP remained punchless. Pasche gave his teammates a chance, stoning Thomas Heigl right on the doorstep near the nine-minute mark. At long last, with German captain Luca Munzenberger in the penalty box, Switzerland's power play clicked at 11:40. The Swiss bashed away furiously at rebounds, and Bugl couldn't stop an unimpeded Taibel from cashing in. But despite Swiss players sacrificing their bodies, like Dario Allenspach taking a teammate's slap shot off the helmet, that was as close as Bayer's crew would get. The Germans thwarted a last-minute flurry with Pasche pulled for the extra attacker. Looking ahead to Monday, Knak said: "We need to battle hard against Austria, and then we get another game. Our goal is to go to the quarterfinals. So we just need to win the game." Germany has now won two straight games versus Switzerland after losing the previous seven encounters dating back to the 1997 World Juniors. The Germans have one more preliminary-round game remaining against Sweden on Monday. "We want to play a really good game against Sweden to prepare for the quarterfinals," Rossmy said. "Just play the way we want to play, and then we will see how it goes." The Swiss boast just one medal all-time at this tournament. All-star goalie David Aebischer backstopped his nation to a surprising bronze medal in 1998. Germany is still seeking its first medal. (Thanks to Lucas Aykroyd)
IIHF World Junior Championship: Finland at spark
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-Lambert registered one goal and four assists in those two games and Helenius was close behind with two goals and two assists. Both Finnish players were plus-6 and determined to continue leading the way at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. But, as the hockey world can easily remember but would rather forget, the IIHF was forced to cancel the 2022 World Juniors at its original dates on 29 December due to concerns around Covid-19. Fast forward seven months and Alberta, Canada is playing host to the August edition of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. Lambert, Helenius and the Finnish U20 national team are set to hit the ice on Tuesday when they face Latvia. “I think it’s just great that we get to have this now. It was obviously upsetting not being able to finish it last time,” says Lambert. “I’m really excited for our team to have this opportunity and Edmonton definitely looks different in the summer than it did in the winter. It’s been nice. We’ve got to walk outside a bit too because it hasn’t been as strict as it was the last two years.” If hockey fans in Edmonton are looking to root for a player or team other than their Canadian favourites, Lambert may be at the top of that list. He comes into Edmonton with Prairie roots, having split time during childhood with his native Finland (he was born in Lahti) and Saskatchewan, the western Canadian province known for agriculture, curling, cold winters and, yes, hockey. Lambert’s father Ross was born in Kindersley and played for the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades before moving on to a short career in the American Hockey League and then playing pro hockey in England. Brad’s mom is Finnish and the young Lambert is a dual Finnish-Canadian citizen. His English is flawless and, during this interview, Lambert not only answered questions asked of him but acted as translator for his teammate Helenius, who understands English but is much more comfortable responding in Finnish. Lambert has had a whirlwind of a summer. Following his Liiga season with the Lahti Pelicans, he attended the NHL Draft Combine and then the actual NHL Entry Draft, where he was taken 30th overall by the Winnipeg Jets. He has also spent a lot of the summer weeks in Toronto training with Gary Roberts and his team. Hockey fans in Edmonton will get their money’s worth watching Lambert. “I’m an offensive player, I like to drive and play with my speed,” he says. “I like to have the puck quite a bit, make plays, generate opportunities for my teammates. Last season, I took some steps forward in my overall game and being responsible both ways. That’s something I’m looking to do in this tournament.” Helenius, meanwhile, also has some Prairie roots, although certainly not as deep as Lambert. Samuel’s father Sami Helenius was taken 102nd overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft and, although Sami ended up only playing seven games for the Flames, he strung together 155 total games in the NHL but is best known for his on-ice antics in other leagues, notably the AHL, IHL and in Finland. Sami had a nose for the penalty box and had 11 seasons in various leagues where he recorded more than 100 penalty minutes. In 1996/97 with the Saint John Flames, Sami had 218 penalty minutes. The younger Helenius chuckles when asked to compare his game to his dad’s. “Some similarities that we have is we’re both big and we play physical. I think my dad took a few more penalties minutes than I have yet,” Samuel says with a laugh. “The way we play physical... that’s where the similarities are but, other than that, we are different. “I think of myself as a two-way centre and more of my strengths are in the defensive zone. But I do like to play physical.” Finland has had recent success at the World Juniors, winning the 2019 and 2016 and 2014 tournaments. But, prior to that, the country last won the event in 1998. Lambert, who also helped Finland to bronze at the 2021 event, believes this group has what it takes to contend for gold. “Our team believes that we have as good a chance to do that as anyone else. It’s a short tournament and we have a lot of good players, a lot of skill on the team,” says Lambert. “A lot of commitment to the team and the way we play. We play a team-oriented game, a good five-man unit. We play great together. You have to keep in mind that it’s a short tournament and anything can happen. You have to improve even during the tournament. That’s something we’re trying to do. I think we can go far.” Following the World Juniors, both Lambert and Helenius will prepare for their respective NHL rookie camps. Lambert will head to Winnipeg and Helenius, who was selected in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, will go to Los Angeles and try and crack a roster spot on the Kings. He closed out last season in the Kings’ system with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. But all of that is to come later on. The focus now is on the World Juniors and bringing back the gold to Finland. (Thanks to Chris Jurewicz).
Swiss twins Rafael Meier and Simon Meier at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Red Deer
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-It has been over 20 years since then Vancouver Canucks general manager Brian Burke made some draft day magic by selecting the Sedin twins – Daniel and Henrik – with the second and third picks overall. Burke’s various moves to ensure the second and third picks would set the Canucks off on a path of sustained success thanks in large part to the stars the Sedins would become in Vancouver. Fast forward two decades and there’s another set of twins from Europe turning heads in the hockey world. The Meier twins are not the Sedins. For one, they’re Swiss, not Swedish. Two, they’re not identical twins like the Sedins. And, three, both players have a lot of work in front of them to make it to professional hockey, be it the NHL or another league. That said, the twins are doing what they can to get there. Simon, a 173-cm (5-foot-8), 68-kg (150-pound) centre, and Rafael, a 183-cm (6-foot), 74-kg (163-pound) winger, are leaders on Switzerland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup under-18 showcase tournament in Red Deer, Canada. “I would describe myself as a playmaker and I just like to make good passes and help my teammates, find them and, when the opportunity is there, I can score too,” says Simon. “My brother, for me, he plays like a power forward, lots of speed, and he wins the battles.” Simon and Rafael aren’t playing together primarily during the Hlinka Gretzky Cup but have grown up on the same line. With their under-20 club team, EHC Kloten, Simon and Rafael are often lined up alongside one another. As many witnessed during those glory years with the Sedins, the Meier twins have that knack of knowing where each other is that only twins can have. “In the game, we don’t think too much, we just play. Most time in the game, we just find each other without thinking too much and that’s very nice,” says Rafael. “I’m like a player who plays both sides (of the ice), bringing a lot of speed to the game. I try to make good pressure on the forecheck and backcheck. My brother is like a playmaker. He makes very good passes and creates scoring chances. We are a good combination together.” Simon and Rafael got into the sport largely because of older brother Fabian, whom the younger brothers followed to the rink, mini sticks in their hands. Before the age of 3, the twins were on skates and thus began their love of the game. Although they have different styles on the ice, their games complement one another. Marcel Jenni, the Swiss head coach, says his team’s lack of depth kind of forced him to split up Simon and Rafael during the tournament (although, the twins did spend some time together on the power play). But he raves about each player’s ability to drive a line. “They’re twins but totally different players. Simon is a really quick forward, he has really good eyes, he reads the ice well. He can move the puck well. He has great offensive skills and he gets better every day. He’s more of a playmaker centreman. “Rafael is a really good safety. You can put him in every line. He can make every line better, he can keep the puck, he’s strong. He goes net strong. He’s good in the corners, he can keep the pace, he’s good on penalty kill, he blocks the shots. They’re completely different but really important for the team.” Following the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, the pair will head back to Switzerland and begin training for the upcoming junior season with EHC Kloten. It’ll be interesting to watch their progress during the season as the 2023 NHL Entry Draft looms closer. Who knows? The Meiers may end up being the next set of twins taken by the same NHL team. Both players state the NHL is the goal and they’re prepared to do whatever it takes to get there. And you can bet that all of the hard work will be done together. “I don’t know how it is not to be a twin so for me it’s a little bit normal. We do everything together, we went to school together for 13 years or something, we have the same routines, we just do everything together,” says Simon. “Shooting pucks, or going for a walk, going out to the city, we just do everything together. It’s fun.” (Thanks to Chris Jurewicz).
Ice Hockey: Chinese Taipei earns promotion beating Mexico 5-4
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-Hung-Li Chou scored the overtime winner as Chinese Taipei’s U20 men topped host Mexico 5-4 to win the gold medal at the 2022 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division III in Queretaro. On a 2-on-1 break, Mo Peng passed over to the 18-year-old sniper and he slammed a one-timer home at 2:19, throwing away his gloves and helmet in ecstasy. It was Chou’s tournament-leading tenth goal. For this tournament, the Lakeside Ice Park was a great host venue and a change of pace from staging IIHF events in Mexico City. The recently constructed rink is situated just outside the state capital of Santiago de Queretaro in central Mexico. Festooned with the home country’s flags, the arena shook with cheers and chants on Saturday night from the adrenalized partisan crowd. Mexico, which has iced U20 teams in IIHF events since 1997, peaked when it was promoted to Division II in 2010. Also under Diego de la Garma, Mexico finished last in Group A with five straight losses that year. It was a duel between starting goalies who both sport #25, Mexico’s Tomas Payro and Chinese Taipei’s Po-Yu Hsiao. Final shots favoured Mexico 32-28. Payro took home Best Goalie honours. The first period started with a scrappy battle in all three zones, with little open ice. Mexico’s Max Rullan, who took the game’s first minor penalty, made amends at 8:42 with a shorthanded breakaway goal to open the scoring. At 14:12 Alexander Valencia scored his team-leading fifth goal for coach Diego de la Garma’s team with the man advantage. This was particularly delightful for the locals since assists went to Valencia’s brothers Luis and Eduardo, and their roots are in the Queretaro area. But just 44 seconds later, Cheng’s squad cut the deficit to 2-1 on Yo-Chen Lin’s goal. Chinese Taipei wasted no time in taking an early second-period lead. After Yo-Chen Lin potted his second goal of the night at 3:14, Zheng-Wei Li made it 3-2 with a snipe from the right faceoff circle at 3:31. Undaunted, Ignacio Soto Borja got loose for a power play one-timer at 8:41 that made it 3-3. The 16-year-old defenceman fell to the ice and spread his arms in glee as his Mexican teammates rushed to him to celebrate. However, Chou struck back at 15:14 for a 4-3 edge. In the third period, the Mexicans came out hungry as the crowd's fervor hit new heights. They exerted great pressure around Hsiao’s cage during a mid-period man advantage with Yi-Kuan Lin in the box. With just 1:01 left in regulation, Soto Borja’s seeing-eye shot from the left point – with Payro pulled for the extra attacker – bulged the twine. It was a thrilling moment, even though the game ended in disappointment for the hosts. Due to the pandemic, it was the first time this tournament has taken place since 2020. This year’s eight-team edition was originally slated for 6 to 16 January, but got bumped to the end of July for health and safety reasons. Australia originally elected to pull out of the January tournament, but participated here. In Saturday’s bronze medal game, Australia edged Israel 1-0 on a second-period power play goal by captain Ethan Hawes, who was named Best Defender. Israeli goalie Daniel Reiner was heroic in defeat as the Australians outshot his side 43-15. Between the Aussie pipes, Jeremy Friederich recorded his first shutout. Australia was coming off an excellent group stage with a 33-3 goal difference through three games, and lost narrowly to Mexico, 3-2, in the semi-finals. (Thanks to IIHF)
Ice Hockey: New Ukrainian team for Continental Cup
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-Due to financial and organizational circumstances Ukrainian club Sokil Kyiv had to withdraw its participation in the 2022/2023 IIHF Continental Cup. Sokil Kyiv was the first-ranked team in the Ukrainian championship prior to the premature end of the season due to the war. The club will be replaced by HK Kremenchuk, the second-ranked team of the Ukrainian championship. HK Kremenchuk was founded in 2010 and after the opening of its Iceberg Arena quickly became one of the top clubs in the top league and became national champion in 2020. HK Kremenchuk already played in the 2015/2016 IIHF Continental Cup as second-ranked team of the country. The team is seeded in Group F of the third round that takes place from 18 to 20 November and includes Slovak host HK Nitra, Unia Oswiecim from Poland and the winner of Group D in Asiago. (Thanks to Martin Merk)
Ice Hockey: Top-10 stories of 2021-22
Andrew Podnieks The 2021/22 hockey season was long, thrilling, complicated, and anything but a straight line. There were great goals and big wins, disappointments and controversy and determination. Herewith we look back at the highlights and the biggest stories of a season now in the history books. Finland’s double The Finns won World Championship gold in 2019 with an unheralded roster under coach Jukka Jalonen. They lost to Canada in the 2021 gold medal game, but early in 2022 they won Olympic gold for the first time after beating ROC, 2-1, in the final game. A few months later, they exacted revenge on Canada at the World Championship on home ice and became only the second country after Sweden in 2006 to win the toughest and most prestigious double gold in IIHF play. That win in Tampere was highlighted by Sakari Mannine’s power-play goal in overtime. Incredibly, some 17 players were on both rosters. MVP MPP At the very height of her powers, 31-year-old Marie-Philip Poulin had a season to remember. Last August she scored the golden goal in OT against the Americans to give Canada its first World Women’s championship since 2012. Then, this past February, she again scored the winner in a tense 3-2 regulation win over the U.S. She also has Olympic winning goals on her resume from 2010 and 2014. Remarkable. And just last month, the Montreal Canadiens hired her as a player development consultant. Jessica Campbell After scoring the golden goal for Canada at the 2010 WW18, Campbell more or less disappeared from the Hockey Canada landscape. But she always saw skating as her strength and people skills as her metier, and she has been climbing the coaching ranks ever since. She made “herstory” at the World Championship in Finland a couple of months ago appearing on the roster sheet of Germany as an assistant coach under Toni Soderholm, becoming the first woman to have a behind-the-bench role in the men’s pre-eminent tournament after she had written history in the DEL. Soon after, Campbell was hired as an assistant coach for the Coachella Valley Firebirds, the AHL affiliate of the Seattle Kraken. Slafkovsky shines The 17-year-old Juraj Slafkovsky was added to Slovakia’s 2022 Olympic team by coach Craig Ramsay to give the youngster some experience. The kid was having none of that bit role and decided to dominate. Ramsay gave him the ice time, and by the end of the tournament the teen led the Games in goals with seven and was named tournament MVP. Three months later, he again impressed at the World Championship and leading Slovakia in scoring with nine points in eight games. His outstanding IIHF performances led to being selected first overall by Montreal at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. His is a bright future, indeed. World Juniors moved to summer With the good comes bad, and one of the toughest days in IIHF history occurred on 29 December 2021, when IIHF President Luc Tardif was forced to cancel the World Junior Championship in Edmonton because of a concerning rise in case count of omicron, the treacherous variant of Covid-19 that had taken the world – and players from several teams – quickly back into isolation. The problems started a day earlier when the U.S. had to forfeit its game against Switzerland, and after two more forfeits a day later, Tardif could see no other option. Safety of players and personnel was paramount, but Tardif vowed to play this event and all others cancelled, a word he is keeping in early August with the re-playing of the World Juniors. Also other events including the U18 Women’s Worlds where Madison, USA jumped in for Sweden have been played later or are scheduled to be played soon. Tardif enters to multiple challenges Tardif was named new IIHF President last September, replacing Rene Fasel after 27 years after several rounds of elections, which would be a remarkable story in itself. But starting the new role, Tardif encountered an unprecedented run of challenges that required every fibre of his leadership with Covid-19 still causing trouble during the hockey season, special circumstances for the Olympics and the invasion of Ukraine. Nevertheless, the federation has fought through the struggles, hired a respected man in Matti Nurminen as the new General Secretary, and manages to play all cancelled events from the winter. Indeed, the summer of 2022 is busier than the past traditional hockey season, thanks to Covid (to the bad) and Tardif’s resolve in re-scheduling every event (to the good). Lekkerimaki plays up The year 2022 is not yet seven months old, but already Swede Jonathan Lekkerimaki has had a year to remember. He led the U18 in scoring with five goals and 15 points, and he led Sweden to the gold medal, scoring once and adding three assists in a 6-4 upset over the United States in the final game. In July, he was selected 15th overall by Vancouver at the NHL draft. Like Slafkovsky, up is the only direction he’s looking right now. Ambuhl’s record It’s easy to say records are meant to be broken – but it’s a lot more difficult to be the one to break them! And World Championship records don’t get much tougher than the one for most games played. It requires skill and longevity and success rolled into one. But this past May, Switzerland’s Andres Ambuhl played in his career 120th World Championship game, one more than previous record holder Udo Kiessling for West Germany, who retired in 1991. It took Ambuhl 17 tournaments to get to 120, and he finished with a total of 123. It will be a very long time before anyone eclipses this mark. Knight’s goals And speaking of tough records to beat, what about Hilary Knight? She became the all-time goalscorer in Women’s World Championship history last August and now has 47 career goals, three more than Cammi Granato. Knight should be in the lineup for USA next month in Denmark, and every time she scores she will add to a record tally that, like Ambuhl’s, will last a very long time. Women with whistles A collective shout out must go to female on-ice officials. Throughout the 2021/22 season, it seemed there was a new story on “first woman to” on a regular basis. Alex Clarke was the first woman to line a WHL game last September. Katie Guay became the first woman to referee an AHL game in October. Kirsten Welsh became the first woman to work the lines of an OHL game in November. And just this past March, after returning from working the Olympics, Elizabeth Mantha became the first woman to referee a QMJHL game.
'ENCEKI' crowns Finland IIHF eWorld Champions, beat USA 8-7
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-Finland has won the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship! The duo of Erik 'ENCEKI' Tammenpaa and Valtteri 'Vattuyy' Virtanen dramatically beat the United States 8-7 in overtime. After a four-game series ended 7-7 on aggregate, FInland and USA had to play double overtime to decide the eWorlds champion. The 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship saw a dream final on Sunday: Defending champion Finland met the tournament’s second strongest team the United States. Both rolled through the groups stage and playoffs and had won their semi-finals against Latvia and Czechia the day before. Already in the first game it was foreseeable that the spectators could expect a thriller: Valtteri 'Vattuyy' Virtanen and David 'JrPens' Roebuck had an intense exchange of attacks on the opening Playstation series. The American ultimately emerged as the narrow winner with a goal midway through the final period. This put some early pressure on Erik 'ENCEKI' Tammenpää, the MVP of the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship. The four-time winner of the NHL Gaming World Championship in Europe demonstrated his quality in Xbox series against Joseph 'Jos' Olmstead. After being down 0-1 and 1-2, 'ENCEKI' came back and won 5-2 in Game 2. So, the action switched back to Playstation for Game 3, and it was again up to 'JrPens' to provide a better position. Roebuck missed a lot of chances, but in the second game against 'Vattuyy' he managed to win 1-0 and to make the overall result 4-5, setting up a thrilling Game 4. 'Jos' lifts US twice from deficit: Going into the final Game 4, 'Jos' had to overcome a one-goal aggregate deficit from the last game against 'ENCEKI'. Tammenpää took a 1-0 lead, but Olmstead showed a lot of mental fortitude in making the comeback and turning the score into 2-1 for the USA. However, 'ENCEKI' had the last word in regulation, who scoring the 2-2 equalizer and forcing the Game 4 overtime. There, 'Jos' scored after six and a half minutes to make the final score 7-7 on aggregate, forcing all four player to get back on the sticks for a final overtime to decide the eWorld Champion. 'Jos' tied the aggregate score in OT and all players are going to OVERTIME, next goal wins the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship. ENCEKI' scores the golden goal: The overtime format meant the decision was to be found in parallel overtime, with both players form each team competing against their opponent at the same time. 'ENCEKI' and 'Jos' played on Xbox, at the same time 'Vattuyy' and 'JrPens' met again on PlayStation – the first goal would lead to the victory in the final. (Thanks to Niklas Assfalg)
Ice Hockey: USA and Finland reach in final
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-The two top teams are in the championship game, having put up 24 goals between them in the semi-final round. Team USA advanced with a 12-4 victory over Czechia, while Finland dispatched Latvia 12-6. The matchup is set for the four-game final series between Finland and USA's national champions. Finland has entered the final of the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship after a strong performance in the semi-final against Latvia – the USA are waiting. In the first game on the PlayStation between Valtteri 'Vattuyy' Virtanen and Kristers 'chibra' Bauers a close semi-final was on the cards. For a long time the duel remained goalless – the Finn was able to secure the 1-0 win less than four seconds before the end. Erik 'ENCEKI' Tammenpää, who already triumphed at the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship, won 4-1 against Juris 'snipencelly8' Lopatko and extended the Finnish advantage. The third game was closer again. 'Vattuyy' and 'chibra' ended the regular time with a 3-3 draw, so things had to be decided in overtime. Virtanen needed only about 30 seconds to score the goal to make it 4-3. So 'ENCEKI' went into the last game at the Xbox with a 9-4 lead – an almost impossible task for 'snipencelly8' going against the top player of the tournament. The Latvian put up a brave fight against the 2020 MVP and four-time winner of the NHL Gaming World Championship in Europe. Lopatko first scored the 1-0, 'ENCEKI' turned the game with three goals. Finally 'snipencelly8' was able to reduce the score to 2-3. No further upsets: United States defeats Czechia 12-4 The USA defeated Czechia 12-4 in the semi-final of the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship and will meet Finland in the final on Sunday. At the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship, the United States was eliminated in the first round by North American rival Canada. Two years later, David 'JrPens' Roebuck and Joseph 'Jos' Olmstead are in the final. The decisive player for the "Stars and Stripes" was the Xbox expert 'Jos'. However, the semi-final against Czechia was opened by 'JrPens' in the first game on PlayStation against Adam 'Dzouvi' Mensik. Roebuck defeated the Czech 3-0 to lay the foundation. Jos' then met Josef 'pepcastachurcik' Stachura and gave his opponent no chance – the 4-0 win was a preliminary decision. In the second Xbox game 'JrPens' had to accept his first defeat in the tournament. 'Dzouvi' beat the US American 3-2 after overtime and cut the overall score to 3-9 – still a comfortable lead for the United States. Especially because 'Jos' didn't want to leave any doubts at the end: Olmstead defeated 'pepcastachurcik' 3-1 and made the final score 12-4, which lifted the USA into the final of the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship. (Thanks to Niklas Assfalg)  
Latvia posts major upset, USA moves on to semi-finals
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-The 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship quarter-final round ended in spectacular fashion as Sweden came back to tie their aggregate score against Latvia 8-8 with 14.9 second to go in the final game, only to have the Latvians win it all in overtime and send one of the tournament's top teams home. Latvia shocks Sweden in overtime Latvia pulled out all the stops to eliminate a talented Swedish team and advance in an incredible 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship quarter-final upset. Latvians Kristers 'chibra' Bauers and Juris 'snipencelly8' Lopatko put up an early lead only to see it evaporate with less than 15 seconds to go in the final game of the four-game series – before winning it all in overtime against the Tre Kronor on an early goal from ‘chibra’. The Swedes had scored 24 of a possible 24 points in Group D, and looked every bit a title contender going into the game. They opted to play the U.S. national team in NHL™ 22 in the first knockout round. Latvia played as Team Canada, which has a stronger overall rating. Because of the ratings difference, competitors are allowed to select a country only once in the playoffs. Sweden had problems from the beginning: Sebastian 'SebbeLarsen86' Larsen had to accept a clear 0-3 defeat against 'chibra'. Henrik Eklund fought back on the Xbox against 'snipencelly8' (2-1). After a 3-2 win by 'SebbeLarsen86' against 'chibra was just one goal behind on aggregate coming into the last game. After a wild finale that saw many lead changes, he managed to equalize with 8-8 in the overall score with 14.6 second remaining, tying up the aggregate score. Thus, the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship experienced its first parallel overtime on PlayStation and Xbox. Both players on each team played their opponent one last time, with the first goal in either game counting as the series decider. United States hold off Germany, advance to semis The USA has made it to the semi-finals of the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship. The co-favourites defeated Germany 15-10 on Sunday. In the group stage, David 'JrPens' Roebuck made it through without the support of teammate Joseph 'Jos' Olmstead, who was not abe to participate due to a technical issue. In the quarter-finals, 'Jos' was finally able to step up and make his debut at the 2022 IIHF eWorld Championship. His teammate, an early eWorlds MVP candidate based on his group stage performance, opened the matchup by beating German Luca 'Cpt_DirtyDangler' Knoll 4-1 to put USA in the lead. Afterwards 'Jos' got the chance to his skills for the first time against Kevin 'Kevinator-373' Würterle. He prevailed on Xbox and extended the US lead with another 4-1 win. In the second PlayStation game, 'JrPens' kept up the pressure and inflicted a second defeat on 'Cpt_DirtyDangler' with a 4-2 victory. 'Jos' entered the last game with a 12-4 lead. There, 'Kevinator-373' shortened the overall result with a 6-3 score – but it would not be enough as the USA moved on to the semi-finals of the IIHF eWorld Championship with a score of 15-10. Besides the Latvians, the Finns were celebrating again on Sunday: Six influencers, content creators and eSports pros defeated Team Germany in IIHF Sixes in 6vs6 mode with 3-2 – also in overtime. (Thanks to Niklas Assfalg)
IIHF World Junior Championship: Canada to meet Latvia in opening match
Sports Bulletin Report ISLAMABAD:-Canada will start the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship against Latvia - the first time in five years these countries will meet at the World Juniors. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and Hockey Canada have released the game schedule for the upcoming 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship and started the ticket sale for the event, which will be held at Rogers Place in Edmonton from 9 to 20 August 2022, has started. The tournament will start with a neighbouring clash between Czechia and Slovakia on 9 August at noon followed by Latvia vs. Finland at 16:00 local time and the USA-Germany evening game at 20:00. The remaining teams of the ten-team event will start on 10 August. Sweden and Switzerland will play the noon game, host Canada will face Latvia at 16:00 and Germany and Austria will play a neighbouring clash at 20:00. Canada, Finland, Czechia, Slovakia and Latvia will play in Group A while the United States, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and Austria will compete in Group B. The top-four teams if each group will make the quarter-finals. All games will be played at Rogers Place with usually two or three games per day during the preliminary round that will end on 15 August. The four quarter-final games will be played on 17 August with Canada playing the third quarter-final game at 17:00 if qualified. The semi-final games follow on 19 August. Host Canada if qualified or the team with the best preliminary-round records otherwise will play the early semi-final game at 14:00. The second semi-final game will be played at 18:00. The medal games are set for 20 August.
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