Category: Tournaments (page 1 of 15)

Lionesses top of Europe

Petra Nieminen was the tournament’s scoring leader and scored twice in Finland’s win in the deciding game against Russia

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The Finnish women’s national team cemented its position as top European team when Finland hosted the first tournament of the Euro Hockey Tour in Vierumaki, Kerava and Mikkeli. All games ended with happy faces for the host nation.

“Overall, this was a good week for us,” captain Jenni Hiirikoski told leijonat.fi. “There were many games, there were new girls involved and every game turned out to be a win. It’s tough to achieve.”

The key win came on the last day against its closest follower Russia. Despite being outshot 28-18, Finland won 4-2 with two goals from Petra Nieminen. With five goals and two assists Nieminen was the scoring leader of the tournament. Defender Hiirikoski also had seven points.

“Both of our goaltenders played a really good week,” Hiirikoski said and also praised the fruitful power play. Meeri Raisanen had a 97.4% save percentage, her teammate Eveliina Suonpaa was third with 92.0%, with Japan’s Nana Fujimoto (94.9%) in between.

For Finland it was the first tournament on home ice since the successful hosting of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship where the lionesses came to historic heights with a silver-medal finish. It’s also a season that will see new players making their Women’s Worlds debut at the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Halifax and Truro, Canada, since Venla Hovi, Riikka Sallinen and Linda Valimaki ended their careers.

Defenders Sini Karjalainen (20), Aino Karppinen (21), Sanni Rantala (17); and forwards Ida Kuoppala (19), Julia Liikala (18), Matilda Nilsson (22), Jenniina Nylund (20) and Emilia Vesa (18) were the eight rookies on the 24-player roster who have never played for the senior team at the Women’s Worlds or Olympics before.

Head coach Pasi Mustonen praised the young team while not hiding that there’s still work ahead as they are just at the beginning of their journey. This was shown in the tight game with Russia.

“We have young players who only know one direction – offence. It is understandable that they are not fully able to read the game yet. 5-on-5 Russia was clearly better than us. We won the game because [our goaltender] Eveliina Suonpaa kept us in the game and our power play, which has been excellent all week, was once again effective,” Mustonen said after the last game.

The tournament needed some reshuffling after Sweden cancelled its participation due to disagreements between the federation and the players about compensations and other issues that are now being discussed. Good news was announced on Friday with the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and the (men’s) Swedish Hockey League to invest SEK 400,000 (€43,000) a year for the compensation for loss of earnings when players join the national team camps with additional money for the development of elite women’s ice hockey coming from the association.

The tournament continued with host Finland, the Czech Republic and Russia as European teams as well as Japan with each team having four games counting to the standings. Finland played against its Russian neighbors twice and had earlier won the first game 3-0 while also beating the Czech Republic (9-2) and Japan (3-1).

Russia finished the tournament in second place. While they couldn’t overcome Finland, they beat both Japan (2-0) and the Czech Republic (6-1) in the other games.

Japan was third with its only two victories against winless Czech Republic, 2-0 and 6-3. Hanae Kubo became the best non-Finnish scorer of the tournament with two goals and two assists.

The Czechs finished the tournament in last place without points and a 6-23 goal record. It was an under performing week for them after the 6th-place finish at the recent Women’s Worlds where the Czechs had beaten Japan 3-1.

Finland’s Meeri Raisanen and Jenni Hiirikoski won the individual awards as best goaltender and defender respectively, Russia’s Olga Sosina was voted best forward.

The next tournaments will happen during the November international break where Sweden is scheduled to host Canada, Finland and the United States for a Four Nations Tournament in Lulea, 5-9 November. The same week Russia will host the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland in Dmitrov in the Moscow Region.

Lionesses top of Europe

Petra Nieminen was the tournament’s scoring leader and scored twice in Finland’s win in the deciding game against Russia

By Martin Merk – IIHF.com

The Finnish women’s national team cemented its position as top European team when Finland hosted the first tournament of the Euro Hockey Tour in Vierumaki, Kerava and Mikkeli. All games ended with happy faces for the host nation.

“Overall, this was a good week for us,” captain Jenni Hiirikoski told leijonat.fi. “There were many games, there were new girls involved and every game turned out to be a win. It’s tough to achieve.”

The key win came on the last day against its closest follower Russia. Despite being outshot 28-18, Finland won 4-2 with two goals from Petra Nieminen. With five goals and two assists Nieminen was the scoring leader of the tournament. Defender Hiirikoski also had seven points.

“Both of our goaltenders played a really good week,” Hiirikoski said and also praised the fruitful power play. Meeri Raisanen had a 97.4% save percentage, her teammate Eveliina Suonpaa was third with 92.0%, with Japan’s Nana Fujimoto (94.9%) in between.

For Finland it was the first tournament on home ice since the successful hosting of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship where the lionesses came to historic heights with a silver-medal finish. It’s also a season that will see new players making their Women’s Worlds debut at the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Halifax and Truro, Canada, since Venla Hovi, Riikka Sallinen and Linda Valimaki ended their careers.

Defenders Sini Karjalainen (20), Aino Karppinen (21), Sanni Rantala (17); and forwards Ida Kuoppala (19), Julia Liikala (18), Matilda Nilsson (22), Jenniina Nylund (20) and Emilia Vesa (18) were the eight rookies on the 24-player roster who have never played for the senior team at the Women’s Worlds or Olympics before.

Head coach Pasi Mustonen praised the young team while not hiding that there’s still work ahead as they are just at the beginning of their journey. This was shown in the tight game with Russia.

“We have young players who only know one direction – offence. It is understandable that they are not fully able to read the game yet. 5-on-5 Russia was clearly better than us. We won the game because [our goaltender] Eveliina Suonpaa kept us in the game and our power play, which has been excellent all week, was once again effective,” Mustonen said after the last game.

The tournament needed some reshuffling after Sweden cancelled its participation due to disagreements between the federation and the players about compensations and other issues that are now being discussed. Good news was announced on Friday with the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and the (men’s) Swedish Hockey League to invest SEK 400,000 (€43,000) a year for the compensation for loss of earnings when players join the national team camps with additional money for the development of elite women’s ice hockey coming from the association.

The tournament continued with host Finland, the Czech Republic and Russia as European teams as well as Japan with each team having four games counting to the standings. Finland played against its Russian neighbors twice and had earlier won the first game 3-0 while also beating the Czech Republic (9-2) and Japan (3-1).

Russia finished the tournament in second place. While they couldn’t overcome Finland, they beat both Japan (2-0) and the Czech Republic (6-1) in the other games.

Japan was third with its only two victories against winless Czech Republic, 2-0 and 6-3. Hanae Kubo became the best non-Finnish scorer of the tournament with two goals and two assists.

The Czechs finished the tournament in last place without points and a 6-23 goal record. It was an under performing week for them after the 6th-place finish at the recent Women’s Worlds where the Czechs had beaten Japan 3-1.

Finland’s Meeri Raisanen and Jenni Hiirikoski won the individual awards as best goaltender and defender respectively, Russia’s Olga Sosina was voted best forward.

The next tournaments will happen during the November international break where Sweden is scheduled to host Canada, Finland and the United States for a Four Nations Tournament in Lulea, 5-9 November. The same week Russia will host the Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland in Dmitrov in the Moscow Region.

Russia tops the charts in Perm

Grigori Denisenko (left), who was named best forward of the tournament, and Kirill Marchenko (right) helped Russia win the tournament on home ice in Perm

By Andy Potts – IIHF.com

Russia’s juniors came out on top in the first U20 Four Nations’ tournament of the season in Perm. The young Red Machine edged in front of the Czech Republic after both teams finished on six points. Russia topped the table by virtue of its opening 4-1 victory over the Czechs, who came second after wins against Finland and Sweden. The Finns secured third place with a 4-2 win against Russia on the last day, while Sweden’s solitary point arrived in an overtime loss against its Nordic neighbour.

The first game of the contest proved to be decisive. Russia’s win over the Czechs tipped the balance in the tie break. The victory owed much to the revived combination of Pavel Dorofeyev, Grigori Denisenko and Ivan Morozov, which had a hand in three of the goals. The trio represent different KHL organisations – Magnitogorsk, Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg respectively – but have often played together at different age groups within the national program in Russia.

“We played all three games on a single line,” Dorofeyev told FHR.ru. “I’ve played with them since we were kids so we can do a lot together. Of course, it’s good to get back to playing with them again after a bit of a break.”

Russia’s second game was a tight affair. Maxim Sorkin’s first-period goal was enough to beat Sweden 1-0 and the CSKA prospect admitted his team made hard work of seeing off the Swedes.

“In the first two periods we couldn’t wake up, our game didn’t flow, the puck wouldn’t go to the stick,” he said. “It was only in the third period that we played more or less OK. Luckily we got a goal in the first period, albeit a bit of a freakish one, and managed to close out the win.”

That result ensured that Russia would top the group regardless of the outcome against Finland and the final gameday saw the host nation defeated 2-4 by the Finnish lions. For head coach Valeri Bragin, who went into the tournament talking about the need for many emerging players to prove themselves at the start of the selection process for this season’s IIHF World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic, it was a somewhat frustrating finish to an encouraging competition.

“The most important thing is that we won [the tournament],” he said. “We played well, including against Finland where we had two very good periods. We tried to play aggressive, attacking hockey but our finishing let us down a little in the end, plus we allowed some soft goals at the other end.

“As far as the roster is concerned, we’ll need to analyse that more closely. Nobody dropped out of contention. Sure, some players were a bit brighter than others but, on the whole, the team was fairly even.”

The individual awards saw Daniel Dvorak (CZE) take the best goalie prize, Santeri Hatakka (FIN) claim best D-man and Grigori Denisenko (RUS) named best forward. Samuel Salonen (FIN) was the leading scorer in the competition. Dvorak, a 19-year-old from Hradec Kralove, was the Czech man-of-the-match against Russia, where his 27 saves kept his team in the game for long periods. He also played in the win over Sweden that secured second place and established himself as a serious challenger to Lukas Dostal for the #1 role on the Czech Junior roster.

Russia’s decision to stage the tournament in Perm, a city in the Northern Urals often described as the Easternmost in Europe, was a new departure. The local team, Molot-Prikamie, has not played in the Russian top league since 2005/06 and the 6,000-seater Molot Arena rarely sees international stars, past, present or future. The games were taken here as part of the Russian Hockey Federation’s efforts to broaden the geographical spread of hockey across the country, and the initiative got the thumbs up from the players.

“It was a good set-up for us here,” said Denisenko. “The fans really got behind us, it was like having a sixth skater on the ice. To be honest, I didn’t expect such an enthusiastic audience for hockey here.”

Head coach Bragin added: “The whole tournament was played in a great atmosphere. We made sure that people in this region could fall in love with hockey and I’m glad we came to play here. I hope we managed to entertain the fans. I’d like to say a big thank to everyone for the lively support we had in the arena. It was like a breath of fresh air, and it gave our players strength.”

Russia wins Euro Hockey Tour

By Henrik Lundqvist – Eurohockey.com

Russia won the Euro Hockey Tour 2018-19. The top spot of the combined standings of the four EHT tournaments was secured already before today’s 4-1 win over Czech Republic.

After two poor games with losses to Sweden and Finland Russia finally got ends to meet and beat the Czech home team 4-1 in Brno.

Tonight it was the line with Yevgeny Kuznetsov (2+2), Alexander Ovechkin (0+3) and Kirill Kaprizov (1+1) that made the difference. and Andrei Vasilevsky in te Russian net made 23 saves.

The World Championship starts on Friday in Slovakia. Russia will play Norway on the opening day while Czech Republic will play Sweden.

Total EHT 2018/19

# Club G W W-OT L-OT L Score P
1 Russia 12 6 2 0 4 41:37 22
2 Finland 12 5 1 2 4 27:28 19
3 Sweden 12 5 0 2 5 29:37 17
4 Czech Republic 12 4 1 0 7 30:34 14

Thailand swat aside Malaysia to win IIHF Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia

Thailand improved on last year’s third-place finish at the IIHF Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia

Inside the Games

Thailand stormed to success at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s Challenge Cup of Asia after crushing Malaysia 9-2 in Abu Dhabi.

Nuchanat Ponglerkdee scored three goals in the emphatic win at Zayed Sports City Ice Rink in the United Arab Emirates venue.

Also on the score sheet were Minsasha Teekhathanasaku, Pijittra Saejear, Varachanant Boonyubol, Panvipa Suksirivecharuk, Wirasinee Rattananai and Kwanchanok Chueyklang. 

Adilah Junid and Aisha Nuval Othman grabbed consolation goals for Malaysia. 

Victory saw Thailand take the overall title with 10 points in the round-robin table, an upgrade from their bronze medal at the 2018 edition.

Chinese Taipei confirmed their second-place finish following a 3-0 victory against New Zealand’s under-18s.

They finished on nine points, ahead of Singapore on six.

New Zealand were fourth on five points, while Malaysia ended fifth having lost every match.

PH women’s ice hockey tops 2019 Challenge Cup of Asia

The Philippine women’s ice hockey team concedes only one goal during its title run

By Beatrice Go – Rappler

The Philippine women’s ice hockey team sweeps the tournament’s Division 1 to gain promotion to the 2020 Challenge Cup of Asia

The Philippine women’s ice hockey team bagged a gold medal in the 2019 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia division 1 on Friday, April 19 (Saturday, April 20, Manila time) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Nationals, which won a bronze in the previous edition, capped their campaign with a narrow 2-1 win over host country UAE to sweep the tournament and gain promotion to the Challenge Cup of Asia tournament in 2020.

Bianca Cuevas, the tournament’s top scorer, scored the opening goal for the Philippines 57 seconds into the match thanks to a two-minute penalty on UAE’s Fatima Al Ali for tripping.

Even as the Philippines struggled during a penalty-laden 2nd period, Danielle Imperial managed to slot in the country’s second goal for a 2-0 cushion at the 39:53 mark of the game.

UAE attempted to rally back, but Dana Alhosani wound up scoring the team’s lone goal at 56:53.

The Philippines’ goaltender Rosalyn Lim only conceded one goal in the tournament as the Nationals trounced Kuwait, 10-0, and blanked India, 5-0.

Mongolia repeats

The Mongolian men’s national team celebrates after defending the title at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia in Malaysia

By Andy Potts – IIHF.com

Mongolia defended its IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia title after a 6-3 victory over the Philippines in the tournament final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Philippines had caused an upset in the group stage, defeating Mongolia by the same 6-3 scoreline and threatened a repeat in the final when it battled back from 0-3 down to tie the game before losing out in the third period. A hat trick from Bayarsaikhan Jargalsaikhan led Mongolia’s scoring, Gerelt Ider picked up 1+1 to finish as the tournament’s top scorer on 17 (11+6) points from five games.

Ider was part of the Mongolian roster that won in 2018 but injury forced him out of the decisive 5-1 victory over Thailand that saw his country claim gold in a round robin format. “I was really determined to come back, play to the end and get the medal,” he said after the game. “It’s a very good feeling because I’m here to represent my country. It was a really good game and I’m so happy to defend our title.”

That title defence got off to an assured start with Mongolia jumping into an early lead. Jargalsaikhan opened the scoring in the eighth minute after a solo rush from #22 opened up the Filipino defence. Just 30 seconds later, Mongolia had a second: Erdenesekh Bold took the puck out of the corner, fed it to Enkhsukh Erdenetogtokh at the point and moved to the slot to convert the rebound from the defenceman’s shot. Ider made it 3-0 late in the opening frame with a one-timer from in front of Paolo Spafford’s net off a Jargalsaikhan feed.

But the Philippines hit back. Julius Santiago’s 22nd-minute effort was the only marker in the second period; two goals in a minute at the start of the third tied the game up at 3-3. First, Carl Montano’s pass from behind the net was gobbled up by Jose Cadiz, then Jan Regencia stuffed home the rebound from a Benjamin Imperial shot. Montano and Regencia both had previous against this opponent, having scored two apiece in the group game; now they had thrown the final wide open once again.

However, as Ider explained, this Mongolian team never lacks for character. “The Philippines are a really good team, they played well throughout the competition,” he said. “But we play as one. Everyone works together, everyone wants to accomplish more. We love each other and when we come to a tournament we play as one man.”

Within a minute, Jargalsaikhan had restored Mongolia’s lead; 63 seconds later Ider set up Erdenesukh Bold to make it 5-3 and with 10 minutes to play Jargalsaikhan completed his treble to put the game beyond the Philippines’ reach.

Earlier on Saturday, the host nation took on Singapore in the bronze medal game. However, the home team was unable to finish with a medal thanks to a fine goaltending performance from Kenny Liang. He made 23 saves to claim a shut-out as Singapore skated to a 4-0 win. James Kodrowski scored twice, Bryan Lee had a goal and two assists, Jiaju Ryan Tan was the other goalscorer.

The tournament format saw four teams – Mongolia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore – contest the Elite group with three others playing in Division 1. After a round robin with each team meeting twice, Indonesia came out on top ahead of Macau and these teams progressed to the quarter-finals against the two lowest-ranked Group A nations. Oman finished third in a tight group; the Middle Eastern nation’s competitiveness was emphasized by a goal differential of -1 despite three losses in four games. Singapore and Malaysia overcame Indonesia and Macau respectively in the quarter-finals, but neither could progress through the semis. The Philippines beat Singapore 6-1 before Mongolia downed the hosts 12-6 to set up Saturday’s medal games.

Wins for Russia, France and Denmark

Russia’s Anna Shokhina was named best forward of the women’s Euro Hockey Tour Final, the last tournament before the Women’s Worlds.

By Andy Potts –IIHF.com

Ahead of the big Canada vs USA rivalry series that starts Tuesday in London, Ontario, Europe’s top teams continued their preparations for the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship with the final stage of the Euro Hockey Tour in Russia. Elsewhere, France and Denmark enjoyed success at two Four Nation tournaments, while Korea celebrated the anniversary of last February’s Olympics by winning a Legacy Cup in Gangneung.

Russia triumphs on home ice

Russia hosted the final stage of the women’s Euro Hockey Tour and came out on top in a six-team tournament in Dmitrov in the Moscow Region. The Russians topped their three-team group ahead of Sweden and Switzerland, with an impressive 5-0 victory over the Swedes. That took the host to a gold-medal game against a Finland team that pipped them to Olympic bronze this time last year.

This time, though, Russia came out on top. The home team made a fast start and got an early lead thanks to Alyona Starovoitova’s goal in the fourth minute. Midway through the first period Anna Shokhina, who was named as the top forward in the competition, doubled the lead and prompted the Finns to call a time-out.

That pause helped Suomi. Susanna Tapani pulled a goal back late in the first frame and the second period was a tight contest that produced no further scoring. Finland began the final stanza with a storm on the Russian net, but Nadezhda Morozova held firm and Yekaterina Dobrodeyeva struck on the counter-attack to make it 3-1. A late power-play goal from Rosa Lindstedt kept the game in the balance until the final hooter, but Russia held on to take gold.

Third place went to Sweden after a 2-1 victory against the Czechs in Saturday’s play-off game. Adela Skrdlova gave the Czechs a seventh-minute lead, but second-period markers from Julia Ostlund and teenager Maja Nylen-Persson earned the Tre Kronor the win. Switzerland beat Germany 3-1 in the fifth-place play-off thanks to third-period goals from Dominique Ruegg and Isabel Waidacher.

France flexes its muscles ahead of the Worlds

The French women’s team enjoyed a confidence boost ahead of April’s Women’s World Championship debut after winning all three of its games in a four-team tournament in Epinal. Les Bleues started with a 3-0 success against Hungary then defeated Norway 4-2. In the third and final game of the competition, Slovakia took the lead in the 29th minute through Tatiana Istocyova. However, France replied within four minutes through Clara Rozier and went on to win it with two goals in the third period. Lara Escudero’s short-handed tally broke the deadlock on 48:01 and Athena Locatelli wrapped up the win with a third late in the game.

A similar competition in Austria saw Denmark come out on top. The Danes were impressive on defence throughout the event, allowing just three goals in three games. Cassandra Repstock-Romme, Amalia Joa and Lisa Jensen shared the goaltending duties and each allowed one goal. At the other end, Josefine Jakobsen (4+3) and Nicoline Jensen Sondergaard (1+6) led the scoring as Denmark enjoyed 3-1 wins over Austria and Italy and 5-1 success against Kazakhstan. The Italians took second place after defeating Austria in the last game of the competition in Tefls. Kazakhstan failed to get a single win.

The Netherlands hosted two exhibition games against Poland and won both. The first was a 2-1 victory and the second finished 5-1.

The Olympic legacy lives on in Korea

In Korea, celebrations of the first anniversary of the PyeongChang Olympics continued with the Women’s Olympic Legacy Cup. Read more about Korea’s Olympic legacy here.

The Korean women’s national team took on Latvia and a Hungary U25 roster with the top-two teams from the round-robin meeting again in the final on Tuesday. The host nation won both its group games, edging Latvia 2-1 on goals from Eunji Lee and Jongah Park before beating Hungary 6-0. However, the Hungarians bounced back to defeat Latvia 3-2 in a shoot-out and advance to the tournament final.

In that final, Korea brought home the gold medal. A 5-1 victory for the host nation secured a perfect record in this mini-tournament. The next challenge for the Koreans will be a Division IB World Championship campaign in Beijing, where the team is seeking to improve on last year’s second place finish as it looks to climb the world rankings in search of another Olympic appearance. At the same time, the Korean roster continues to develop talented youngsters. Heewon Kim, 18, and Jiyeon Choi, 20, were among the leading scorers for Korea in this tournament, highlighting the depth of emerging talent that Korea can call upon.

Czechs succeed in Sweden

Czech forward Jan Kovar is all smile after scoring a goal. The Czechs won the Sweden Hockey Games during the February International Break.

By Andy Potts – IIHF.com

A busy program of international saw the Czech Republic win the Swedish stage of the Euro Hockey Tour for the first time in 25 years, while Gangneung staged a hockey celebration to mark the first anniversary of last year’s Winter Olympics.

Czechs on top in Swedish Hockey Games

Stage three of the Euro Hockey Tour saw the Czech Republic take the honours thanks to victories over Finland and Sweden. Milos Riha’s team wrapped up first place in the tournament after just two games and could afford a 1-3 loss against Russia on Sunday. It was the country’s first tournament win in Sweden for 25 years.

The Czechs were boosted by the return of Jan Kovar. The two-time Gagarin Cup winner began the season in North America, but after failing to win a place with the Islanders line-up and going through a trial with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, he returned home to play in the Czech league and is available for selection once again. He made an instant impact on his return, scoring a hat trick in Thursday’s 5-2 win over Sweden. However, the HC Plzen forward didn’t have everything his own way. In Saturday’s game against Finland he took a game penalty late in the Czechs’ 3-1 win. By prior arrangement with his club, Kovar did not play against Russia; Plzen team-mate Milan Gulas and Ak Bars forward Jiri Sekac were also rested.

Head coach Milos Riha had mixed feelings about the team’s overall performance at the tournament – and especially the way several players failed to take the chance to impress in the final game against Russia. “I expected that the guys who stayed here would want to show more,” Riha said after that match-up. “I was disappointed with that. But both Hynek and Tomas Zohorna did well – they took their chances while some of the others underperformed, especially the youngsters.”

Russia took second place, with 20-year-old netminder Ilya Konovalov earning the prize for best goalie of the tournament after backstopping both Russian wins. The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl prospect secured a shootout win over Finland and stopped a penalty shot from Marek Kvapil during the game against the Czechs. Head coach Ilya Vorobyov said: “Overall, we got two victories in this tournament and we ran the rule over several new guys. Now we’ll go away and look at all the information we’ve collected. There’s still a long way to go before the World Championship. We’ve got part of the regular season and the whole of the playoffs. After that, we’ll shuffle the pack once again.”

Finland finished the weekend with a shootout win over Sweden following a 4-4 tie in an entertaining tournament finale. However, Tre Kronor took third place, one point ahead of its Nordic neighbour. Russia remains out in front in the overall Euro Hockey Tour standings, six points ahead of second-placed Finland.

Overall Standings EHT: 1. Russia 19, 2. Finland 13, 3. Sweden 11, 4. Czech Rep. 11.

Slovakia tunes up for home World Championship

This year’s World Championship host nation, Slovakia, continued its preparations with victory in the Kaufman Cup in Bratislava. Craig Ramsay’s roster started with a 2-1 shootout win over Belarus after a late tying goal from Radovan Pulis took the game into the extras. Then on Saturday, Slovakia defeated Russia B-team 5-1 with 20-year-old forward Samuel Bucek leading the way with two goals. The HC Nitra youngster made his international debut at the tournament. The other game in the three-team contest saw the Russians edge Belarus 2-1 thanks to goals from Vladimir Tkachyov and Alexander Khokhlachyov.

Korea celebrates Olympic Legacy

year after the Winter Olympics, international hockey returned to PyeongChang with a special four-team Legacy Cup followed by a three-team women’s tournament going on now. The men’s competition ended with Kazakhstan taking top spot ahead of Latvia, while Korea finished third thanks to a 2-0 win over Japan. Goals from Eric Regan and Sangjin Park secured that win against Korea’s biggest rival. For Kazakhstan, the tournament was a useful warm-up for next month’s Winter Universiade, with the team selecting a relatively youthful roster and leaving the KHL players of Barys Astana at home. Kazakhstan will then in April host the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A.

For Korea, meanwhile, the competition represented the start of a new era. Jim Paek’s team called on just three of the seven dual-nationals who played at the Olympics and took the opportunity to welcome several youngsters to the roster. 

One of the veteran dual nationals, goalie Kevin Dalton, is looking forward to seeing the next generation develop like the group that won promotion to the World Championship elite and represented the country at the Olympics. “It reminds me a lot of when we started. We had a lot of good players but we hadn’t really had coaching,” Dalton told the Korean Times. “We have these guys that are excited to be here. They have a lot of energy, but they haven’t really played a lot. Once they start to get the experience, it’s going to be like the process that we had before. I feel like they’re going to start taking on roles of the older guys that were here before.”

Read more about the 2018 Olympics’ legacy in Korea and beyond here.

Kazakhstan went up 3-0 against both Japan and Korea to eventually win the games against the Asian rivals 5-2 and 5-1 respectively. Arkadi Shestakov and Nikita Leshenko scored Kazakhstan’s goals in the deciding game for first place. Kazakhstan had the upper hand for most of the game with a 40-29 shot-on-goal advantage against Latvia but Rudolfs Maslovskis tied it up in the third period. Anton Nekryach scored Kazakhstan’s game-winner at 3:07 of the overtime period.

More EIHC in Austria, Slovenia

At the Osterreich Cup in Klagenfurt, three nations finished tied on six points. Denmark claimed first place ahead of Austria and Norway by the narrowest of margins – just a single goal in the three-way head-to-head put the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship host on top. Austria took second place thanks to a 2-0 victory over Norway in its final game. France completed the group but failed to win a game in the competition.

The Euro Challenge tournament in Slovenia ended with the host nation on top. Victories over Hungary (4-1) and Italy (2-1) gave the home team an unassailable advantage in the four-team tournament and even an overtime loss to Belarus B in the closing game could not deny Slovenia gold. Italy came second thanks to a 1-0 overtime win over third-placed Hungary, with Belarus ending in fourth despite that last-day win.

Games in Germany, Great Britain, Ukraine

The week’s other exhibition games saw Germany and Switzerland play two B internationals, with honours shared between the two countries. The Germans enjoyed a 4-2 victory in Memmingen on Tuesday, but the Swiss responded with a 5-2 success in Bietigheim the following day. Romania surprised with a tournament win thanks to victories against higher-seeded Poland and host Ukraine. Great Britain defeated Dinamo Riga 3-1 on Wednesday in its first warm-up game ahead of the World Championship.

KalPa edges Canada in shootout for Spengler Cup title

KalPa Kuopio wins the Spengler cup for the first time

By The Canadian Press

Jaakko Rissanen scored in the eighth round of a shootout to give Finnish club KalPa Kuopio a 2-1 win over three-time defending champion Canada in the final of the Spengler Cup on Monday.

KalPa goalie Denis Godla led his team to a 3-2 shootout win against Canada netminder Zach Fucale and his squad.

Rissanen beat Fucale with a high backhand before Godla made a pad save on Canada captain Andrew Ebbett to end it.

The shootout was tied at 2-2 following three shooters each, bringing it to sudden death. Godla — the MVP of the 2015 world junior championship when he lifted Slovakia to a bronze medal — made five straight saves for the win.

Canada fell just shot of matching its run of four consecutive Spengler Cup titles from 1995 to 1998.

Canada outshot KalPa 40-23.

Daniel Winnik opened the scoring for Canada in the third period before Eetu Luostarinen tied it.

It was KalPa’s first Spengler Cup title in the history of the annual holiday tournament.

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