European Neighbors Manage Wins at World Para Ice Hockey Championships B-Pool

Photo: World Para Ice Hockey

Friday saw a preview of the medal matches at the Para ice hockey 2016 World Championships B-pool in Tomakomai, Japan. After the medal matches were already decided going in to Friday’s games, Friday served as a preview of those two games with Slovakia and Czechia managing wins.

The opening game of the day saw Slovakia play Great Britain in a preview of Saturday’s bronze medal match. Slovakia won this match 1-0, doing little to convince that they are a sure thing for Saturday but will go in confident of victory.

Slovakia came third in the pool last year and coming third here would see their hopes of qualifying for PeyongChang remain alive. It was a dominant performance from Slovakia who took charge of the match from the very opening face-off.

The only goal of the game came towards the end of the first half as Slovakia managed to score a shorthanded goal. With the puck lose in front of the British net Peter Stit was able to find Milos Vecerek who got a quick and powerful shot away and in to the back of the net.

Reflecting Britain’s focus of Saturday’s match over this pool stage game Britain brought in their reserve goaltender from the second period on. That saw a number of more back-up lines enter the fray as they tried different combinations to keep options open ahead of the bronze medal final.

Slovakia forward Martin Joppa reflected that the game was not really as intense as it could have been after the game “The fact that this game was not going to decide much meant the team did not play at full intensity, did not try hard enough, did not fight the battles until the end, did not crash the net like in other games. The whole team will have to improve on the effort for tomorrow, we need to work on full power.”

The final match of the pool stages was a preview of Saturday’s championship game as Czechia managed a strong 2-0 win over Japan. A strong start from Czechia was enough to put them past the hosts who will have to regroup in the next 24 hours.

It took just over four minutes for Czechia to take the lead as Pavel Kubes finally scored his first goal of the tournament. Michael Geier was able to find the double Paralympic veteran who buried his chance easily to give Czechia the lead.

Ten minutes later Czechia was able to double their lead as Jiri Raul was able to find Zdenek Safranek in front of the net. That allowed the captain to fire the puck home and give Czechia a commanding two goal lead.

That didn’t stop Czechia’s offense as they continued to control the game, managing 15 shots throughout. Despite that Japanese goaltender Kazuya Mochizuki did phenomenally well in goal for Japan, restricting Czechia to just two goals to build form ahead of the final on Saturday.

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