Jump to content

Welcome to Totallympics, the home of Olympic Sports!

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to other members, get your own private messenger, manage your profile and so much more. This message will be removed once you have signed in.

Login | Create an Account

Sign in to follow this  

Men's Ice Hockey Tournament at the Winter Olympic Games 2018

Recommended Posts

hckosice    901

Qualified Nations:


  • :CAN Canada
  • :CZE Czech Republic
  • :FIN Finland
  • :GER Germany
  • :NOR Norway
  • :RUS Russia
  • :SVK Slovakia
  • :SLO Slovenia
  • :KOR South Korea
  • :SWE Sweden
  • :SUI Switzerland
  • :USA United States


Total Nations: 12

Total Athletes: 300

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901


as of 17th May 2015


  1 :CAN Canada   3690
  2 :RUS Russia   3675
  3 :SWE Sweden   3630
  4 :FIN Finland   3575
  5 :USA United States   3540
  6 :CZE Czech Republic   3495
  7 :SUI Switzerland   3235
  8 :SVK Slovakia   3160
  9 :BLR Belarus   3075
  10 :LAT Latvia   3015
  11 :NOR Norway   2990
  12 :FRA France   2930
  13 :GER Germany  2920
  14 :SLO Slovenia   2795
  15 :DEN Denmark   2775
  16 :AUT Austria   2745
  17 :KAZ Kazakhstan   2680
  18 :ITA Italy   2565
  19 :HUN Hungary   2415
  20 :JPN Japan   2345
  21 :UKR Ukraine   2310
  22 :POL Poland   2275
  23 :KOR South Korea   2230
  24 :GBR Great Britain   2225
  25 :NED Netherlands   2065
  26 :LTU Lithuania   2035
  27 :CRO Croatia   1930
  28 :ROU Romania   1895
  29 :EST Estonia   1870
  30 :SRB Serbia   1645
  31 :ESP Spain   1645
  32 :MEX Mexico   1400
  33 :ISR Israel   1375
  34 :BEL Belgium   1280
  35 :ISL Iceland   1270
  36 :AUS Australia   1230
  37 :NZL New Zealand   1045
  38 :CHN China   1020
  39 :BUL Bulgaria   890
  40 :RSA South Africa   855
  41 :TUR Turkey   815
  42 :PRK North Korea   770
  43 :LUX Luxembourg   700
  44 :UAE United Arab Emirates   510
  45 :GEO Georgia   495
  46 :HKG Hong Kong   455
  47 :BIH Bosnia and Herzegovina   200



  • Black Bold - Nations Qualified for Winter Olympic Games 2018 Tournament
  • Silver Bold Italic - Host Nations of Final Olympic Qualifying Round
  • Blue Bold - Nations Qualified for Final Qualifying Round
  • Gold Bold - Nations Qualified for 3rd Qualifying Round
  • Purple Bold - Nations Qualified for 2nd Qualifying Round
  • Green Bold - Nations Qualified for 1st Qualifying Round
  • Red Bold - Nations that decided to not enter the Qualifications
Edited by hckosice

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901


:BULSofia (BUL) - 10th October 2015 :BUL


Qualification Match

2 Nations, 1 Direct Qualification Match, winning Nation will Qualify to the 2nd Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Round


:BUL Bulgaria  9 - 1  Georgia :GEO 

(Score by Period: 2-1, 3-0, 4-0)

10th October 2015, h. 19:30 (GMT +3), Winter Sports Palace, Sofia



Following Nation Have Qualified to 2nd Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Round

  • :BUL Bulgaria


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901
Bulgaria advances

Captain Boyadjiev collects 8 points against Georgia


Bulgaria got its expected win against Georgia and gets a chance in the Olympic Qualification.


Bulgaria won decisively 9-1 (2-1, 3-0, 4-0) against Georgia in the Olympic Qualification Game played Saturday night in the Winter Palace to earn a spot in the next stage on the road to PyeongChang 2018.

Next month from 5 to 8 November, Bulgaria (39th in the IIHF World Ranking) will compete with host Estonia (29), Mexico (32) and Israel (33) in the Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 1 in Tallinn. At the same time the other group in this round will be staged in Valdemoro with host Spain (31), Serbia (30), Iceland (35) and China (38). Each tournament winner then advances to the second preliminary round in February before the Final Olympic Qualification tournaments will be played next September.

Despite missing half of its top players Bulgaria was the clear favourite in the game against Georgia. One-and-a-half years ago the team was in full strength and scored 10 goals in the first period for a 19-1 win. This time around it wasn’t that easy, at least in the beginning, something that the opponents boldly predicted the day before the game.

Bulgaria opened the scoring on a great shorthanded breakaway by captain Martin Boyadjiev at 3:37. Vitali Dumbadze showed good puck-handling skills and with individual breakthrough four minutes later he tied the game. The hosts took the lead again at 12:24 after Boyadjiev had redirected a shot by Nikolay Bozhanov from the blue line – 2-1. Until the end of the period Dumbadze had two excellent scoring chances but found the crossbar on the first one and later couldn’t capitalize on a breakaway.

“We weren’t surprised by the Georgian team. It’s the same since we beat them in 2014. I don’t think the players underestimated the opponent either. In the beginning the players were nervous, which is normal when you don’t have many practices,” said Bulgaria head coach Kiril Hodulov after the game.

The second period started with two quick goals by his team. Boyadjiev again was flying on the ice, went behind the net and passed the puck to the oncoming 18-years-old Yanaki Gatchev, who beat Georgian goalie Andrei Ilienko for the 3-1 goal. The Russian-born netminder was out of position seconds later and Kristian Semkov extended the score to 4-1. This was the home team’s only goal of the game without the contribution of Boyadjiev, who finished with eight points (2+6). In the end Gatchev did a hat trick, Petar Mihov scored two goals and Bogdan Stefanov one.

“These two goals in the first two minutes of the second period calmed down the team and then everything went into places. Boyadjiev showed that he is a true captain and without doubt was the best player on the ice today. In the difficult moments he took charge of the play and his teammates. It’s no coincidence that this line made almost every goal. Gatchev keeps growing in presence and confidence on the ice,” Hodulov revealed his positive feelings.

His colleague on the opposite bench, the Russian Dmitri Afanasyev, was realistic about the difference in the level of the two teams: “Bulgaria has a good team that competes in the Division II and we are in Division III. I had to use just two lines and with the time these players had difficulties keeping the same level with the hosts. Every period became worse than the previous one. I just came to Georgia last month and we didn’t have time for practices – we had two in Batumi and two in Sofia. So there were some moments in which we were counting too much on individual skills instead of passes. But there are good young players in Georgia and with the project for three new arenas in the country we can only get better.”

In the same time the future for the Bulgarian team is quite unclear at the moment. “With this team we don’t have any chances in the next stage. We need our players who are competing abroad,” Hodulov said and hopes that the missing players will become available during the November event in Estonia.


Edited by hckosice

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901


Tournament 1

:EST Tallinn (EST) - 05.11.2015 - 08.11.2015 :EST


Participating Nations:

  • :BUL Bulgaria
  • :EST Estonia
  • :ISR Israel
  • :MEX Mexico




4 Nations, Round-Robin Tournament, 1st Nation will Qualify to the 2nd Olympic Preliminary Quailfication Round


:MEX Mexico  8 - 2  Bulgaria :BUL

(Score by Period: 1-0, 3-2, 4-0)

5th November 2015, h. 15:00 (GMT +2), Tondiraba Icehall, Tallinn


:ISR Israel  1 - 19  Estonia :EST     

(Score by Period: 0-6, 0-5, 1-8)

5th November 2015, h. 19:00 (GMT +2), Tondiraba Icehall, Tallinn


:MEX Mexico  5 - 0  Israel :ISR  

(Score by Period: 2-0, 1-0, 2-0)

6th November 2015, h. 15:00 (GMT +2), Tondiraba Icehall, Tallinn


:EST Estonia  26 - 0  Bulgaria :BUL

(Score by Period: 10-0, 8-0, 8-0)

6th November 2015, h. 19:00 (GMT +2), Tondiraba Icehall, Tallinn


:BUL Bulgaria  2 - 5  Israel :ISR      

(Score by Period: 1-0, 0-1, 1-4)

8th November 2015, h. 13:00 (GMT +2), Tondiraba Icehall, Tallinn


:EST Estonia  13 - 3  Mexico :MEX   

(Score by Period: 3-1, 3-2, 7-0)

8th November 2015, h. 17:00 (GMT +2), Tondiraba Icehall, Tallinn



Round-Robin Standing

1 :EST Estonia 3 3 0 0 0 58:4 9
2 :MEX Mexico 3 2 0 0 1 16:15 6
3 :ISR Israel 3 1 0 0 2 6:26 3
4 :BUL Bulgaria 3 0 0 0 3 4:39 0




Following Nation Have Qualified to 3rd Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Round

  • :EST Estonia



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901


Tournament 2

:ESP Valdemoro (ESP) - 06.11.2015 - 08.11.2015 :ESP


Participating Nations:

  • :CHN China
  • :ISL Iceland
  • :SRB Serbia
  • :ESP Spain




4 Nations, Round-Robin Tournament, 1st Nation will Qualify to the 3rd Olympic Preliminary Quailfication Round


:ISL Iceland  4 - 5 (GWS)  Serbia :SRB

(Score by Period: 2-2, 0-1, 2-1, OT: 0-0, GWS: 0-1)

6th November 2015, h. 16:00 (GMT +1), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Valdemoro


:ESP Spain  10 - 1  China :CHN      

(Score by Period: 2-0, 6-1, 2-0)

6th November 2015, h. 19:30 (GMT +1), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Valdemoro


:SRB Serbia  5 - 1  China :CHN  

(Score by Period: 4-0, 1-1, 0-0)

7th November 2015, h. 16:00 (GMT +1), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Valdemoro


:ESP Spain  5 - 3  Iceland :ISL

(Score by Period: 2-1, 2-1, 1-1)

7th November 2015, h. 19:30 (GMT +1), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Valdemoro


:CHN China  3 - 11  Iceland :ISL      

(Score by Period: 0-7, 1-2, 2-2)

8th November 2015, h. 16:00 (GMT +1), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Valdemoro


:SRB Serbia  5 - 3  Spain :ESP   

(Score by Period: 0-2, 2-0, 3-1)

8th November 2015, h. 20:00 (GMT +1), Francisco Fernandez Ochoa, Valdemoro



Round-Robin Standing

1 :SRB Serbia 3 2 1 0 0 15:8 8
2 :ESP Spain 3 2 0 0 1 18:9 6
3 :ISL Iceland 3 1 0 1 1 18:13 4
4 :CHN China 3 0 0 0 3 5:26 0




Following Nation Have Qualified to 3rd Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Round

  • :SRB Serbia

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901
Easy workout for Estonia

OQ Gr. K : Hosts and Mexico start with wins


The Estonian players sing the national anthem after crushing Israel 19-1 in their first Olympic Qualification game.


Estonia and Mexico rack up opening day victories at the 2015 Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round Group K held in the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

With the first round of games done and dusted at the Tondiraba Ice Hall in Estonia's capital, Mexico got into gear as the game wore on vanquishing Bulgaria 8-2, while Estonia set the tone from the outset in their first game to run away with a lopsided 19-1 win against Israel.

Jet-lagged after their long haul across the Atlantic, the Mexicans started their first game against Bulgaria slow on pace, but thanks to the attacking prowess of Jorge Perez they got in front after 11:20. Refusing to give in against their higher ranked opponents, the Bulgarians battled back with Georgi Iskrenov equalizing 14 seconds into the second period. But as the game progressed, Mexico got more into their stride and soon the game started to tilt over in the Latin American team's favour.

Nikola Nikolov had replaced starting netminder Dimitar Dimitrov half-way through the middle match and the 22-year-old got off to an unlucky start conceding only 13 second after stepping out on the ice, as Carlo Tommasi's effort sneaked in at 30:27 to put the Mexicans back into the lead 2-1. The feisty Bulgarians once fought back to equalize thanks to a Kristian Semkov effort, but as Mexico turned up the heat they got their reward with two late goals at the end of the middle frame. Perez scored his second of the afternoon at 19:26 of the second period and with ten second to go Carlos Gomez gave Mexico a two-goal cushion.

Gomez’ scoring spree continued in the final frame as he netted two consecutive power-play goals for a hat-trick to stretch the lead to 6-2 and put the game beyond their Balkan opponents. Perez followed, by netting his third with 5:12 to go before Guillermo Diaz added further gloss to the scoreline with 15 seconds to score the final goal of a 8-2 win for Diego de la Garma's men.

While Mexico needed to work hard before the goals finally started to fly in, Estonia had no problem finding the net from the outset in their first game against an inexperienced Israel team.

Piling up the pressure, the home crowd of 850 got on their feet for the first time at 1:52 into the game as Alexandr Kuznetsov opened the scoring in what was to be a very long and gruesome evening for Israel.

Robert Rooba scored Estonia's unanswered sixth goal with 2:08 to go in the first frame in a game which in the end saw Estonia dominate in emphatic fashion, winning shots on goals with 87-9 and steam ahead to a 19-1 win on the scoreboard.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901
Spain’s super start

OQ Gr. L: Hosts net ten, SO win for Serbia



Nemanja Jankovic netted the shoot-out winner for Serbia to end a tight game against Iceland.


Day 1 of Olympic Qualification Group L produced a pulsating battle between Iceland and Serbia before Spain delighted the home crowd with a crushing win over China.

Spain – China 10-1 (2-0, 6-1, 2-0)

Spain got off to the perfect start, delighting the home crowd with two goals in the space of a minute early in the first period.

Head coach Luciano Basile had promised a team full of enthusiasm and that was evident from the start as Spain set a high tempo. China had already killed a penalty before taking the lead on 5:27 when Ignacio Solorzano fired low into the unguarded corner of Zhiwei Liu’s net.

And the celebrations had barely stopped when Adrian Ubieto unleashed an absolute thunderbolt from the blue line to bring Spanish fans to their feet once again.

Spain was pressing hard, giving China no time to settle into its game, as Alejandro Carbonell acknowledged after the game.

“We knew China skates fast but we played a really good game, we got to them even faster and that’s how we got the result,” the forward said. “We did what the coach told us, we played very well and when we got the puck to the net we scored many goals.”

China, reflecting the Russian influence on its hockey, tried to play its way into contention with the kind of neat passing that Spanish sports fans might recognise as tiki-taka. Some neat interplay between Xijun Cui and Cheng Zhang sent the latter in on the home net. But goalie Ander Alcaine has a bit of a reputation in these parts and he responded to the danger with a fine sprawling save.

By the end of the second period the ‘Ole’s were heard for the first time – and small wonder as Spain stretched its lead to 8-1. Jordy Angles, one of just two players based outside of Spain, scored from close range at the second attempt and within a minute Guillermo Bertan shot from the left-hand boards and captain Pablo Puyuelo put away the rebound. A power play goal in the 29th minute saw Carbonell add to his two assists in the opening stanza with a neat finish high on the backhand to make it 5-0.

China got on the board at last a minute later when Tianziang Xia finished off a nice passing move but there was no stopping the home team. Pablo Munoz made it six, prompting China to replace starting goalie Liu with Shengrong Xia. The goals kept flowing: defenseman Alejandro Vea scored the seventh from the point and Solorzano got his second of the night to make it eight as a party atmosphere rolled around the arena.

The third period saw Spain continue to press but Xia provided a bit more resistance in goal. Juan Munoz and Patricio Fuentes added two further goals to bring up double figures and crown a powerful performance that gives the team great confidence going into Saturday’s game against Iceland.

Iceland 4 Serbia 5 (SO) (2-2, 0-1, 2-1, 0-0, 0-1)

Serbia and Iceland got the Spanish crowd warmed up in Valdemoro with a high-scoring game that eventually went to the Balkan nation thanks to Nemanja Jankovic’s shoot-out winner.

The teams shared eight goals in regulation, with Iceland coming from behind four times in an absorbing encounter.

And Serbia’s experienced forward Pavel Popravka admitted that the team had ridden its luck after facing 52 shots from an opponent that was keen to test goalie Arsenije Rankovic at every opportunity.

“It’s always hard to say much about the first game,” Popravka said after the game. “It was interesting to get out and play at last. Maybe we had a bit of luck, but we got the result.”

Serbia struck first after just 90 seconds, turning over the puck on its own blue line before Ivan Glavonjic combined with Jankovic to present captain Marko Milovanovic with his first goal of the night. But Iceland hit back on the power play: a wayward shot from Bjorn Sigurdarson had Serbia scrambling behind the net and the puck dropped for Arnthor Bjarnason to tie it up in the eighth minute.

The teams traded two more quick-fire goals in the opening frame: Nemanja Vucurevic profited from a positional error in Iceland’s defence, but just 17 seconds later Ulfar Andresson forced home the rebound from Johan Leifsson’s shot.

A speculative effort from Serbia was the only marker in the second stanza. Dimitrije Filipovic’s shot seemed comfortable for Snorri Sigurbergsson but somehow squeezed through his pads to make it 3-2.

In the third period Iceland again tied the scores, this time with a well-executed penalty shot by Johann Leifsson after a slashing call against Marko Brkusanin. Milovanovic got his second of the night for the Serbs on the power play, but a short-handed strike from Olafur Bjornsson, swatting an airborne puck into the net, took the game into the extras


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901
Goals galore in Tallinn

OQ Gr. K: Estonia v Mexico for next round


The Estonian players celebrate one of the 26 goals against Bulgaria


Mexico and Estonia continued their winning streaks during the second day of Olympic qualification in Group K. Prolific powerplay was the key as Mexico blanked Israel 5-0 while Estonia steamed ahead to beat Bulgaria 26-0 and falling just short of their all-time scoring record. With a couple of wins each, Mexico and Estonia now go head-to-head in a Sunday night showdown where the winner progress to the next round in February.

Mexico vs. Israel 5-0 (2-0, 1-0, 2-0)

Penalty calls proved costly for Israel as Mexico got their power play in tune during a solid second consecutive win. Roberto Chabat led the way with three goals in one-man advantage for the Latin Americans while netminder Alfonso de Alba recorded a shutout.

Bundling in the first goal of the game on a power play from close range saw Chabat bring the Mexicans in front after 8:43 after fine work by Brian Arroyo from the left side. A well-worked move at 16:58 once again proved to be a productive way for finding the net. Israel's captain Ilya Spektor sat out a tripping call when Fernando Ugarte moved the puck to Arroyo, who once again picked out Chabat in front of the net as Mexico doubled their lead.

When Christian Smithers scored Mexico's third at 4:36 of the second period it looked like the game would be well and truly over, but a dogged Israel worked itself more into the game led by Spektor and lively Roey Aharonovich, who both came close for Israel as they were denied by fine goaltending from Mexico's Alfonso de Alba. With Mexico already serving a minor penalty for too many players on the ice, Israel got their golden opportunity with a 5-on-3 after Jorge Perez's interference call for Mexico at 15:03. Israel coach Derek Eisler took a time-out to give his players a breather and requesting more traffic, but Mexico's able netminder Alfonso de Alba kept out any Israeli attempts on goal.

Any chance for an Israeli fightback faced an even steeper uphill task when at 10:25 of the third period Chabat scored his third of the afternoon. Maxim Gokhberg in the Israeli net can take a lot of credit for his performance before Mexico's captain Ugarte's solo effort at 16:25 closed the scoring in a 5-0 win, which pleased Mexico head coach Diego de La Garma.

"We are content with the victory, but we should have scored way more goals. Their goalie was pretty good, but we managed to get an okay win," he said as his young team is getting ready for the decider against Estonia, which proves to be of another calibre.

"It's going to a tough one as Estonia is way better than any of the other teams in this group. Their speed, experience and shooting ability are really good. But if we play a very solid defensive game we might have a chance to be able to compete with them, we'll see," said de La Garma.

As for Israel, despite two straight defeats, Derek Eisler, in second season at the helm of the senior national team found signs of promise compared to the opening day loss against Estonia.

"Compared to Estonia, Mexico is a little bit more like we are, but they scored a lot more on power play. They scored early and if we scored on ours in the second period, it could have been pretty even, but we just didn't score," said Eisler, whose team is now up against fellow winless Bulgaria in their final day, where Israel will be aiming to redeem themselves from their last meeting at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A in South Africa last spring.

"I would like to see us rebound from the 10-5 loss we had against Bulgaria in South Africa and I think that should be good motivation for us going into it," he said.

Estonia vs. Bulgaria 26-0 (10-0, 8-0, 8-0)

Estonia recorded their second emphatic scoreline in a blowout win, which in the end turned into a battle for the young Estonian team to enter the history books.

When Robert Arrak scored his fifth of the night and Estonia's 25 unanswered goal, the scoreboard showed 5:17 to go of the game. To beat a 27-1 win against South Africa from 16 March 1994 was in the minds of many of the Estonian players as they relentlessly surged forward at the end of their second match against Bulgaria.

With 102-9 in shots in Estonia's favour, and Robert Rooba leading the scoring with 5+6, closely followed by his line-mate Vassili Titarenko on 5+4, credit must be given to Bulgaria's netminder Nikola Nikolov, who played the final 30:36 of the game and where his 47 saves in the end denied Estonia's record-chasing pack.

Estonia came out of the game in full throttle and Robert Rooba missed a clear-cut chance eight seconds straight after face-off. Just like in their opening game last night, Alexandr Kuznetsov set the tone for Estonia, scoring their first goal, this time after 1:16 when Mihkel Vorang picked him out in front of the net. Captain Lauri Lahesalu hit the inside of the post soon after from the blueline, before Rooba sailed through the Bulgarian defence with an unassisted effort at 3:14 for Estonia's second.

The first line out was out in full force once again when Estonia found the net for their third goal. Rooba won a face-off at the right before Artjom Gornostajev picked out Titarenko unmarked in the slot. 24 seconds later with the same line still out on the ice, Mikhel Sinikas, the tallest player of the tournament at 199 cm, saw his blueline effort sail in for a 4-0. Two Finnish-based players combined for Estonia's fifth when Silver Kerna picked out Espoo Blues prospect Arrak, who finished high at 8.57. A Michael Mahkwa Auksi blueliner found its way behind Dimitar Dimitrov, who started in Bulgaria's net at 10:43 and before the first frame was over, Arrak had scored a hat-trick and Estonia scored ten unanswered goals.

"These guys are great hockey players, so there is not really that much you can do," said Bulgaria's Georgi Iskrenov following their 26-0 loss. "We have a lot of young players, but they don't get a lot of opportunities in Bulgaria, but they have hockey sense and we try to focus on that, to get them experience and not focus too much on what the score will be," he said as Bulgaria aims to bounce back in their final game against Israel.

"I don't think it's going to be an easy game at all," said Iskrenov. "Estonia kept them to a lower score than against us, and I hope we are going to get a win out of that one."

For the Estonians they now need to stay fully focused on what lies ahead for them when only a win in their final game versus Mexico will be good enough.

"It seems like they will be our toughest opponent, but we just need to continue to play like we done in the first two games, not lower our level of play and just keep on going," said netminder Villem-Henrik Koitmaa


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901
Set for a showdown

OQ Gr. L: Spain faces Serbia for top spot


The Serbian players celebrate a goal. After two wins they will battle for first place with host Spain on Sunday


Spain overcame a spirited Iceland team to make it two wins out of two and set up a winner-takes-all clash against Serbia on Sunday evening. Earlier, Serbia opened up the second day of Olympic Qualification competition with a comfortable win over China.

Spain vs. Iceland 5-3 (2-1, 2-1, 1-1)

The host nation made it two wins in a row in front of another passionate crowd – but after Friday’s romp against China this was a hard-fought battle against Iceland. Defenceman Jorge Vea acknowledged that he had been in a tough battle of the Division IIA rivals: “We had to fight for everything and it was a really great win for us. Iceland has a good team and they showed that on the ice.”

The first period was fast and frantic. Both teams were determined to play on offence and shared 30 shots on goal as they traded blows. Iceland struck first, profiting from Spain’s all-out attack philosophy. Defenceman Birkir Arnason almost coughed up the puck in his own zone but as the Spanish swooped out of position he recovered to launch a counter-attack that ended with Johann Leifsson silencing a raucous home crowd of 850 fans with a low shot past Ander Alcaine.

Spain redoubled its attacking efforts with Ignacio Solorzano and Javier Garcia-Arias going close to tying the scores before Pablo Munoz made it 1-1 at 10:27. The play went round the back of the net where Gaston Gonzales popped out a pass for Munoz to fire in his second marker of the competition. Iceland still threatened with Alcaine pulling off a double save to deny Robin Hedstrom and Emil Alengaard before Spain hit the front. Alfonso Garcia brought the crowd to its feet with a slapper from the point that deceived Snorri Sigurbergsson as it flew through traffic.

Iceland tied it up early in the second with Spain’s defence slow to react as Falur Gudnason lined up his shot but a turnover in centre ice soon presented the home team with the chance to regain the lead. Alejandro Pedraz was sent one-on-one with Sigurbergsson and won his duel. At the other end Ulfar Andresson also had a golden chance when he was awarded a penalty shot at 14:14 of the second period. However, Alcaine advanced to meet the Icelander and got his body behind the shot. Two minutes later Spain punished that miss and opened up a two-goal lead through Pol Gonzalez. He wrapped up a neat three-man passing move with a shot right under the bar.

The home team’s hopes of calmly closing out the game in the final stanza were hampered when Leifsson got his second of the game at 8:02. He produced a clinical finish after great work on the left boards from Ingthor Arnason to put the game back in the balance. Nerves were jangling louder still when Alcaine was forced into a brave stop at the feet of Olafur Bjornsson a few moments later but when the Icelanders ran into penalty trouble the game turned decisively. Ignacio Solorzano thumped a shot over the bar and it bounced back off the boards for Gaston Gonzalez to make it 5-3.

For many of Spain’s young players, tomorrow’s showdown is the biggest game of their careers, but Vea insists it will be business as usual despite the occasion. “We’ve not seen much of Serbia’s games here but I’m sure it will be another tough game like tonight,” he said. “We’ll just practise the same as usual and do what we usually do to prepare and go and play our game.”

Serbia vs. China 5-1 (4-0, 1-1, 0-0)

Serbia wasted little time in taking control of its game against China. Captain Marko Milovanovic opened the scoring 4:21 into the game with a close-range finish off a Nemanja Jankovic pass for his third goal of the competition. Jankovic was among the assists on Serbia’s second, drilled in from the point by defenceman Aleksa Lukovic at 11:25 before Pavel Popravka put a fine wrist shot upstairs from the deep slot as the Chinese defence was parted by Serbia’s passing game.

Perhaps the pick of the goals came right on the hooter as the Serbs’ third line combined with a nice tic-tac-toe move to give Nenad Rakovic his first goal in the tournament. China, once again, found it hard to get its offence rolling but might have got on the board late in the first period when Tianyi Guan made an interception that put him clean through on Arsenije Rankovic. However, the defenceman fired straight into the goalie’s pads.

But after another slow start China produced some of its best hockey of the competition so far as Benyu Wang’s team held Serbia to 1-1 over the period. Mingxi Yang got the first Chinese goal at 4:06 of the second period with a fine solo run as the team began to show more attacking endeavour. Serbia struck back immediately, Popravka getting his second of the game, but the Chinese offence began to test Rankovic more seriously: nine shots on goal in the session were just two shy of the team’s whole game tally against Spain the previous evening. That pattern continued into the scoreless third period, leaving Serbian captain Milovanovic warning that tomorrow’s showdown with Spain would demand total concentration for the full 60 minutes.

“We started the game well but we’re a bit disappointed with the way we played in the second and third period,” he said. “It’s not a good way to finish a game and go forward to the next. If we want to beat Spain we will have to play better.”


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
hckosice    901
Budapest awaits Estonia

OQ Gr. K: Progress sealed as hosts romp Mexico


The Estonian players celebrate. After winning all games on home ice in Tallinn, they will advance to the next round of Olympic Qualification.


Estonia's goal-barrage continued as Mexico was beaten 13-3 to win Group K and keep Olympic dreams alive. The Baltic nation will now be facing a much sterner test in the next round of Olympic Qualification where Hungary, Poland and Lithuania await in Budapest, Hungary, 11-14 February 2016. In today's other game Israel recorded its first win thanks to a gutsy performance as Bulgaria was beaten 5-2.

Estonia vs. Mexico 13-3 (3-1, 3-2, 7-0)

Despite taking a shock lead and a valiant performance by Mexico, it was Estonia who coasted to a comfortable win hitting double-digits for the third successive game in the Sunday evening showdown.

In front of a crowd of 1,150 at Tondiraba Ice Hall Robert Rooba (3+2) and defenceman Artjom Minin (2+3) led the the winning side in points, while Mexico showed great efficiency scoring three goals in their first five shots with 20-year-old birthday boy Gustavo Martinez notching 1+1.

With the odds heavily stacked against their favour, the tactics were clear for Mexico from the outset.

"We tried to be really disciplined in defensive zone and not to be as aggressive as we had been in our previous two games while also not giving up too much space in the middle of the ice. I think it worked out for about two periods," said Mexico head coach Diego de la Garma.

Setting out their stall early to concentrate on their defensive duties, Mexico's diminutive goalie Alfonso de Alba had to break sweat from the outset as Estonia came out full throttle.

But instead of Estonia's sustained pressure materialising in early goals, it was instead Mexico who silenced the crowd with an opening shorthanded first strike.

Enrique Arturo Samperio was serving time in the penalty box for a hooking offence when Estonia went all on attack and temporarily forgot about defensive duties as Carlos Gomez drove up the puck to feed Gustavo Martinez, who surprised Estonia's Roman Shumikhin with a fine finish to put the Mexicans in front at 10:29.

The lead was shortlived as Aleksandr Kuznetsov picked out Artur Fedoruk to tie the game at 12:22 and 33 seconds later Estonia was in front. Captain Lauri Lahesalu fed Jan Lukats, who unleashed a wrister from the right faceoff circle that flew high past de Alba. Lahesalu had a hand in Estonia's third as he found Kuznetsov flying down the right boards with pace and Alexander Ovechkin's good friend since their junior hockey days hit a threading cross-ice pass to the blade of Mihkel Vorang, who reacted quicker than Mexico's Guillermo Diaz to make it 3-1 with just over five minutes to go of the first frame.

Robert Rooba boomed home a shot in the slot while on power play to stretch Estonia's lead to 4-1 at 2:24 of the second period. The same Rooba found the net once against just over eight minutes into the middle frame thanks to fine work by Artjom Gornostajev, who set up the assistant captain in front of de Alba's net for Estonia's fifth marker.

While Mexico replied at 10:39 when Bryano Arroyo converted fine work by Carlos Gomez for their second goal, Estonia hit back 1:25 later with Rooba completing his hat trick to stretch Estonia's lead to 6-2.

While Estonia stamped their authority more into the game and parked long spells in Mexico's defensive zone in a period where the hosts won the shots 22-2, it was instead Mexico that 15 seconds before the buzzer added a bit of nerve into the game with a finely taken goal starting from Luis David Gonzalez on the blue line, feeding captain Fernando Ugarte at the right faceoff circle, who picked out Roberto Chabat clean in slot and sent the puck low past Shumikhin for 6-3.

Estonia eventually got out of sight when Jaanus Sorokin scored Estonia's seventh goal at 3:09 of the third period and starting with Robert Arrak's 8-3 goal at 8:15 Mexico was to concede five unanswered goals in the space of 3:20 with Gornostajev, Minin, Sorokin and Risto Teppan also finding the net. The final score finished 13-3 with Minin closing the scoring for Estonia with 3:56 to go.

"We played with three lines, got a guy injured while Estonia played with four full lines, so in the end there was a huge difference in energy as we started to lose some easy goals and in the end they are way, way better than us," said Mexico coach de la Garma, who despite the defeat was far from dejected when looking ahead for the upcoming World Championship events at both senior and U20 level play on home ice in Mexico City.

"I think it looks pretty good. We had a lot of young players here and one of our top scorers here in Tallinn is a U18 player, Jorge Perez. There were a lot of surprises in terms of performances that we were not expecting especially not in a game like against Estonia, so we are going to have very good teams in both World Championships," said de la Garma.

"When the game was close, we could had been negative, but we were always very positive," said Estonia's defenceman Michael Mahkwa Auksi of today's win while also looking back at being back on the national team set-up during this week.

"The practices we've had were quite intense. Focusing on what we have to do, working on offensive schemes and respecting the game, each other and the other teams. I thought we did a great job with that. It is a tough tournament to play, because you cannot stop playing just because there is a high score as it is preparation for what is to come now in February," he said.

Group H of the Olympic Qualification Preliminary Round 2 is played in Budapest, Hungary between 11-14 February 2016 with Hungary, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia taking part. The winner will progress to the Final Olympic Qualification played 1-4 September 2016.

Bulgaria vs. Israel 2-5 (1-0, 0-1, 1-4)

Israel bounced back from their two losses in the Olympic Qualification by winning a tight final game 5-2. Despite being outshot 30-24, 19-year-old Ilya Spektor became the hero of the day for Israel as he sealed his hat trick and the win thanks to an empty netter with 1:17 to go. Maxim Gokhberg in the Israeli net made 28 saves.

Israel's head coach Derek Eisler had ahead of this match called on his team to redeem themselves from a 10-5 defeat to Bulgaria at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A in South Africa last spring.

Captain Martin Boyadjiev had put Bulgaria in front at 17:42 as he picked up the puck on the right during an ineffective Israeli power play and skated past a passive rearguard to finish high past Gokhberg for the only goal of the first period.

Having been outshot 9-4 in the first period, Israel came out with renewed energy in the second frame after a few well-chosen words during the intermission by head coach Eisler. After managing to ride out an initial storm on box play it was the individual skill of captain Spektor that got them back into the game as he picked up the puck at centre ice and skated through the cumbersome Bulgarian back line and slotted the puck past Bulgaria's netminder Dimitar Dimitrov for Israel's equalizer and the sole goal of the period.

Once the third frame was underway Rosen Hristov's low shot at 5:09 got Bulgaria back in front but Israel was not to give up that easily on this afternoon and it was Spektor, who once again tied the game as he skated clear at 10:24 with a goal that invigorated the Israeli team.

With the game very much in balance, Bulgaria piled the pressure and with Israel's Nissim Botbol sitting out two minutes for holding offence, Georgi Iskrenov created havoc but couldn't get the puck behind Gokhberg and Bulgaria's spurned chances proved costly as on an Israeli breakaway Raiter found Roey Aharonovich, who found the net as Israel had turned the game at 15:07 to go 3-2 in front.

Bulgaria, who for the first time this tournament played the entire game with one goalie, pulled Dimitrov with 2:17 to go, but despite piling up pressure, it was Israel's Aharonovich, who got hold of a loose puck and found Spektor, who thanks to an empty netter scored his third of the game before further misery was added to Bulgaria's afternoon when Israeli prospect Ori Kafri netted the final goal with 50 seconds to go.

"Both teams were pretty equal, but in the end they wanted it more," said Bulgaria's Iskrenov. "We played alright for a period or so, then got down in the second, but I thought it could have been anyone's game, but unfortunately I could not buy a goal today."

Meanwhile in the winning camp, Eisler, now in his second year working with Israel's senior team and with a previous experience of working with Israel's junior set-up sees the victory as a sign of progress as he is set to continue down the road of transition in Israeli hockey.

"Most of the players we brought along have been kids who I've started with in the U18. It's been a three-year process and we are trying to build a stepping stone for the players, and you can see a bit more hockey maturity in some of the players, but we need to keep building on that," said Eisler.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this