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phelps

Ice Hockey 2017 - 2018 Discussion Thread

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hckosice    1,182

New coach also for Hungary. The Finn Jarmo Tolvanen will coach :HUN "A" and U20 National teams

 

 

Finnish coach Jarmo Tolvanen will be behind the bench of the Hungarian men’s national team and also lead the U20 national team.

The Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation decided not to use the option to prolong the contract with Rich Chernomaz after the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A that ended with a fifth-place finish – tied for the worst placing in ten years with 2014 when the Hungarians also finished the group in fifth place and 21st overall in the program.

Chernomaz was in charge of the Hungarian national team for five senior World Championship tournaments and led the team to promotion in 2015 and a participation in the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship top division in Russia. Chernomaz also served as the head coach of the junior national team at four U20 World Championship events. Last winter on home ice in Budapest the team took first place and was promoted to the Division IA level.

Chernomaz will be succeeded by Finnish coach Jarmo Tolvanen at both the senior and U20 national teams. Tolvanen spent the past two seasons with Stjernen in the top Norwegian league. After retiring from playing hockey in his early twenties with several seasons in the second Finnish league for HPK Hameenlinna and one in the top Swedish league for Timra he started coaching in the lower levels of Finland. His first breakthrough was in the early 1990s with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association. He was an assistant coach with the U17 national team which was followed up with being named the head coach of the U18 and the U20 teams. This was with the classes of 1972-73-74 that were made up of players such as Jere Lehtinen, Sami Kapanen and Janne Niinimaa. He was leading the U20 team at the 1992 and 1993 World Juniors and again in 2007.

He would end up coaching in top leagues in Europe such as the Finnish Liiga, the Swedish Hockey League, the Swiss National League, the German DEL, in Denmark, France, Norway, Poland and… Hungary. He returns to the country where he was the head coach for Fehervar AV19 during the 2009/10 season and he lead them to their first-ever playoff appearance in team history in the Austrian-based cross-border league EBEL and also won the Hungarian title.

Gabor Ocskay, former Fehervar club president, believes this was an excellent choice by the federation. “I had a great experience with Jarmo when he was in Fehervar. In the 10 years that Fehervar has playing in the EBEL, that season was one of the best ones we had in 2009/10. We just missed out on making the semi-finals as we lost to a very strong Vienna Capitals team 4-2. Jarmo is an excellent coach both on and off the ice, with excellent credentials. The head coaching position is in great hands. The Fehervar hockey community is very happy that he will be the head coach of the Hungarian national team,” Ocskay told the Hungarian Ice Hockey Federation’s website.

Jarmo Tolvanen will be making his debut with the senior national team on 30th September when Hungary will host the Polish national team in Budapest during its 90th-anniversary gala.

Next spring Hungary will host the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A in Budapest from 22nd to 28th April 2018. Beside Hungary also Slovenia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland and Great Britain will battle for promotion to the top division.

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hckosice    1,182

MENS UNDER 18

IVAN HLINKA MEMORIAL CUP

 

image.jpeg 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Canada reclaims Hlinka title

Dethrones defending champ Czechs 4-1 in final

image.jpeg

 

One year after seeing its eight-year reign as champion come to an end, Canada reclaimed the title by defeating the defending champion, the host Czech Republic, 4-1 in the final game of the traditional U18 summer showcase.

“It feels awesome,” Canadian head coach Brent Kisio said in the aftermath of the win, “but give the Czechs a lot of credit. I thought they played a great game and this place was rocking.”

Over 3,000 fans came out to the Ice Bors Arena in Breclav and made a lot of noise, hoping to see the Czechs defend their title. Instead, they saw a Canadian team firing on all cylinders. The Canadians outshot the Czechs 19-4 in the first period, but didn’t manage to beat goaltender Lukas Dostal until Jared McIsaac fired a blast from the high slot under the crossbar with 3:34 to go in the opening frame.

Early in the second period, captain Joe Veleno banged in a loose puck to make it 2-0, and it looked like the Canadians might be away to the races. However, Dominik Arnost gave the Czechs a brief ray of hope a few minutes later when he put in a rebound to cut the deficit in half.

The back-breaker for the Czechs was Kevin Bahl’s 3-1 goal with just 31 seconds left in the second period – a slapper from the point that went untouched through a crowd in front.

“Our team was playing well, and when the coach has a plan and we all execute, we have success,” the Ottawa 67’s rearguard explained. “It was me that got the goal, but it was a great team effort out there.”

McIsaac and Bahl were part of a crew of Canadian defencemen that are projected to be possible first-round picks in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, including Ty Smith, Jett Woo and Ryan Merkley, drawing comparisons to the class of Canadian defenceman from the 2012 Draft. Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes probably also brought himself into that list with a stellar tournament, recording six points in five games.

“We’ve got so many great defencemen here, all stars in their leagues, they’re all going to grow up to be stars, so it was just a pleasure,” said Bahl. “It’s gonna be a journey with all those guys growing up – we’re probably going to play together again in the future.”

Jack McBain rounded out the scoring in the third period, after which the outcome was no longer in doubt. The Canadians still had a couple of penalties to kill in the last half of the third period, but stellar penalty-killing and steady netminding from Olivier Rodrigue.

“He was outstanding,” Kisio said of Rodrigue after the game. “We were lucky that we had two great goalies here and they both did a great job. Rodrigue, the last few games he stood on his head a couple times when we needed him to, and other times he didn’t see a lot of work but he did his job when he had to.”

After Alexis Gravel of the Halifax Mooseheads played Canada’s first game, a 4-3 shootout loss to Russia, Rodrigue played the last four games in five days. The Drummondville Voltigeurs netminder allowed one goal in all four wins.

Solid from top to bottom, it was not a Canadian team that had any offensive stars that stood out, but the leader was Veleno, the only returnee from last year’s squad, who was eager for redemption and determined to use last year’s disappointment as a positive for this year.

“You build and learn from previous experiences, so this year I mentioned to most of the guys that the margin for error is so small. You can’t dwell on a bad moment or bad game, you have to turn the page and move onto the next one because they come so fast,” the Saint John Sea Dogs centre said of the compact tournament. As for the experience of captaining Team Canada, he said when it was over: “Obviously I picked up a bit of a leadership role here, and hopefully I get that chance in Saint John to be part of the leadership group there. That’s one thing for sure I’ll be bringing back.”

As for the Czechs, they now have four medals in the last five Hlinka Memorial Cups, with one gold, two silvers and a bronze. Although they lost their title this year, Czech coach David Bruk was nonetheless proud of his troops. They were dealing with injuries, most notably to team captain Libor Zabransky, who was forced to miss the final.

“Of course we’re happy that we were able to make the final and compete well in it,” Czech coach David Bruk said in the aftermath. “We’re happy that we were able to beat strong teams like the USA and Russia, and we were able to play Canada in the final. Canada was clearly the better team in the game, they were simply the best team we played in the tournament. They were better in all facets. It is true that we played without three defencemen and four players could barely hold a stick, but we still got to the final. I am truly proud of what my players accomplished.”

The Czechs were led offensively in the by Jan Jenik of Bili Tygri Liberec, who started the tournament on the fourth line but ended up with a tournament-leading six goals. As well, Jakub Lauko of Pirati Chomutov scored four goals and wore the captain’s C in the final game with Zabransky out.

The Czechs made it to the final after beating Russia 2-1 in the semi-finals on Friday in Breclav. At the same time, Canada beat previously unbeaten Sweden in Bratislava by a 4-1 score. The two semi-final losers met for the bronze medal in Bratislava, and in a wild game the Swedes came from two goals down to take the lead, lost it in the final minute of regulation time, but then won in overtime on a goal by Jacob Olofsson.

Despite the absence of top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin, the Swedes were loaded with talent, particularly defenceman Adam Boqvist, who led the tournament with seven assists and his eight points ranked him second.

“We had a pretty good tournament, but we didn’t come up to the level we wanted to play in the semi-final against Canada,” said the Brynas Gavle defenceman. “Personally, I think I played well, but I could have come up a little better against Canada.”

Russia was also without its top Draft prospect, Andrei Svechnikov, but they were led offensively by Dmitri Zavgorodny of Avangard Omsk, who had five goals and five assists to lead the tournament with 10 points. Like Boqvist, however, Zavgorodny was held off the scoresheet in the semi-final against the Czechs.

In the game to decide fifth and sixth places, the USA defeated Finland 4-3 on an overtime goal by Ryder Donovan of Duluth East High in Minnesota. Both of these teams had their medal hope doused on the final day of the group stage, when the Americans lost to the Czechs and the Finns lost to Russia. Finland’s Rasmus Kupari opened the tournament with a five-point game against Slovakia and finished with seven.

For the third year in a row, Switzerland and Slovakia met in the game for seventh place. For the second time in that span, the Swiss came out winners, this time by a 2-1 score.

The Slovaks, like the Czechs, were able to count on good home crowd support for most of their games, but that won’t be the case next year. The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup is scheduled to be played in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in the years 2018, 2020 and 2022. The Czechs and Slovaks will again co-host in 2019 and 2021.

“I think it’s a bit unfortunate because this has become like a tradition, going to the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in Slovakia and the Czech Republic,” lamented Swedish coach Torgny Bendelin. “I understand the business side of it, and I’m sure they’ll get lots of fans in Edmonton. It will be back here again, I know, but I just feel this event belongs here every year.”

“I think it’ll be really exciting,” said Kisio, a Calgary native, about next year’s tournament. “We don’t mind travelling, but Canadian teams always love playing at home and being there in front of our fans will be fun.”

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phelps    253

Last week I saw a few games of the Ivan Hlinka memorial...

quite an entertaining event for the period, even if Canada were clearly better than any other team and Slovakia were quite awful, to be honest...

 

p.s. @hckosice

I don't see any KHL game scheduled in the next weeks on Sport 1 & 2 (I noticed only CHL matches)...have someone else bought the tv rights for the new season in CZE and SVK or what? I'm a bit worried...:mumble:

it wouldn't be nice to lose tv games of the second best hockey championship in the world...:facepalm:

as you know, for IIHF Hockey I rely basically on the Czech and Slovak tv channels (I've seen that next week's games between CZE and SVK will be broadcasted on both Czech and Slovak public Tv...I love that), sice satellite feeds are inconsistent and sometimes unreachable with my not so big dish...I desperately need some good news...

Edited by phelps

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hckosice    1,182
19 hours ago, phelps said:

Last week I saw a few games of the Ivan Hlinka memorial...

quite an entertaining event for the period, even if Canada were clearly better than any other team and Slovakia were quite awful, to be honest...

 

p.s. @hckosice

I don't see any KHL game scheduled in the next weeks on Sport 1 & 2 (I noticed only CHL matches)...have someone else bought the tv rights for the new season in CZE and SVK or what? I'm a bit worried...:mumble:

it wouldn't be nice to lose tv games of the second best hockey championship in the world...:facepalm:

as you know, for IIHF Hockey I rely basically on the Czech and Slovak tv channels (I've seen that next week's games between CZE and SVK will be broadcasted on both Czech and Slovak public Tv...I love that), sice satellite feeds are inconsistent and sometimes unreachable with my not so big dish...I desperately need some good news...

 

 

1-)Yeah, well it´s not like we were not awful in the past years too, but I agree this year it was very bad. But you know this U18 category is always hard to predict, it´s only August, the national championships did not started and it was the first games for them and we played against the Best U18 players of the planet actually, so personally I don´t take our results or play of this tournament too seriously, for example also last years team was very very bad but we all saw how they improved their play later and how amazing they were at the U18 Worlds in April. So let see what this years U18 guys will show later in the season and especially at the worlds, where it counts the most.

 

But yes the Hlinka Memorial is one very great tournament and real first best of best youth players meet. and the thing I can not understand is why the tournament will be moved to Canada !!! I agree, sure, Canada is just the heaven of the hockey, no doubts about, I understand the business thing that can the Canadians present to this tournament, the attendance, the coverage and the complete stuff will be certainly huge in Canada, and I love hockey tourneys played in Canada, but come on not this one, This is a MEMORIAL CUP of Ivan Hlinka. Czech and Czechoslovak Hockey legend, how can a memorial tournament be played in another country... a memorial :facepalm:

 

2-) Sorry buddy, but I have a bad news for you, so far Sport TV (which is owned by AMC Central Europe Company) just announced after tons of requests from tv viewers about the KHL, that they have not the rights for this season so far, and (apparently) they are still under negotiations. So maybe they will somehow find a solution and start to broadcast KHL later during the season, It happened once, I think 3-4 years ago, they did not had the rights but later they bought them and started to broadcast it in the later September (So there still a chance for this season too) but I am afraid that under AMC pression they will just cut KHL to replace it by some football...

 

3-) Yes as usual, all SVK national team matches will be live in our public TV this season too.

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phelps    253
3 hours ago, hckosice said:

 

 

1-)Yeah, well it´s not like we were not awful in the past years too, but I agree this year it was very bad. But you know this U18 category is always hard to predict, it´s only August, the national championships did not started and it was the first games for them and we played against the Best U18 players of the planet actually, so personally I don´t take our results or play of this tournament too seriously, for example also last years team was very very bad but we all saw how they improved their play later and how amazing they were at the U18 Worlds in April. So let see what this years U18 guys will show later in the season and especially at the worlds, where it counts the most.

 

But yes the Hlinka Memorial is one very great tournament and real first best of best youth players meet. and the thing I can not understand is why the tournament will be moved to Canada !!! I agree, sure, Canada is just the heaven of the hockey, no doubts about, I understand the business thing that can the Canadians present to this tournament, the attendance, the coverage and the complete stuff will be certainly huge in Canada, and I love hockey tourneys played in Canada, but come on not this one, This is a MEMORIAL CUP of Ivan Hlinka. Czech and Czechoslovak Hockey legend, how can a memorial tournament be played in another country... a memorial :facepalm:

 

2-) Sorry buddy, but I have a bad news for you, so far Sport TV (which is owned by AMC Central Europe Company) just announced after tons of requests from tv viewers about the KHL, that they have not the rights for this season so far, and (apparently) they are still under negotiations. So maybe they will somehow find a solution and start to broadcast KHL later during the season, It happened once, I think 3-4 years ago, they did not had the rights but later they bought them and started to broadcast it in the later September (So there still a chance for this season too) but I am afraid that under AMC pression they will just cut KHL to replace it by some football...

 

3-) Yes as usual, all SVK national team matches will be live in our public TV this season too.

 

1-I agree...playing a Memorial Tournament far away from the home of the people you're supposed to commemorate is just senseless...:facepalm:

but you know...nowadays is everything all only about money...and when we talk of hockey and money, North America is the place to be...:dunno:

 

2-aaagh!!!! :yikes:

that's very bad news for me (and not only for me, I guess)...

I hope they just make up their minds and take some money off for the KHL, too...

however, I haven't seen any more football on their schedule...it's still the same French and Itallian leagues and the German Cup + the European qualifiers to Russia 2018...so, the money should still be there...I keep my fingers crossed (and in the meantime I just set up my dish to perfection...just in case)...:fingers:

 

3-at least that...:d;)

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hckosice    1,182
6 minutes ago, phelps said:

 

1-I agree...playing a Memorial Tournament far away from the home of the people you're supposed to commemorate is just senseless...:facepalm:

but you know...nowadays is everything all only about money...and when we talk of hockey and money, North America is the place to be...:dunno:

 

2-aaagh!!!! :yikes:

that's very bad news for me (and not only for me, I guess)...

I hope they just make up their minds and take some money off for the KHL, too...

however, I haven't seen any more football on their schedule...it's still the same French and Itallian leagues and the German Cup + the European qualifiers to Russia 2018...so, the money should still be there...I keep my fingers crossed (and in the meantime I just set up my dish to perfection...just in case)...:fingers:

 

3-at least that...:d;)

 

At least they made a deal that they will rotate the hosting, 1 year in Canada, the next one co-hosted by CZE/SVK, next year again in Canada and then again back to ex-TCH.

 

Yes, that would be definitely stupid, considering the KHL matches of Slovan are the phare lead of the success of this TV. The amount of viewers is incomparably higher in SVK than for any other event broadcasted by them...so to cut KHL would be really illogical and unfortunate move...seriously, in this country the French or Italian football league will never has comparable viewing rate than Hockey from for example KHL (well, maybe ITA Serie A is actually quite decently followed because of Napoli, but still...)

 

well, if they did not, peoples will probably start to riot :d you know, If you have to pay the concessionary fees for the public TV, the least thing which they have to do is to broadcast the national Hockey team. ;)

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hckosice    1,182

New Slovak coach arrived

Ramsay: “Want to move the team to a higher level”

image.jpeg

 

 

The Slovak national team has a new head coach. General manager Miroslav Satan introduced the new head coach Craig Ramsay at a press conference on Saturday.

 

For the Canadian and long-time NHL coach and player it will be the first job in Europe, but he is very excited about it he said one-and-a-half week after his hiring had become known. According to his words, he wants to improve the Slovak national team to be able to compete with the top teams in the world.

 

When he sat in front of the Slovak media for the first time, he introduced himself and explained what exactly his philosophy was going to be. His main focus is to move the Slovak national team to a higher level.

 

“What a wonderful opportunity for me to come here. I am excited for this challenge to work with Miroslav Satan and Vladimir Orszagh. Hopefully we can improve the level of play of the Slovak hockey team. I've been in the business for a little while. I have some ideas how I think we should play. We want to play with a lot of intensity and in order to do that we have to have short shifts. The players have to realize that they have to play hard and they have to compete and be willing to battle. Everybody should be excited to be a part of this program,” Ramsay said in his opening remarks.

 

This is going to be your first job in Europe. Have you consulted with other coaches you know who already had some experiences with coaching a European team?

 

Jeff Ward is one guy with whom I coached in Boston and I spoke with him about coaching in Europe, to see what I can expect a little bit. He thinks it would be a good fit the way I coached and what I want from players. The European players exactly understand what I want from them and have the commitment I expect from them. He thought that it would be a good fit and I would enjoy it. He is the guy that I really trust and so I talked to him about this.

 

Could you give some insight of your philosophy you want to bring to the Slovak national team?

 

First I want to see the players and see what they can do and what they do the best. My philosophy is as I´ve been saying all the time “safe is death”. I don't like to be safe, I don't like to be laying back and waiting for somebody to make a mistake. I believe in that. I expect everybody to be able to play defence, but I expect everybody to try and score a goal as well. Checkers have to learn to score and scorers must try to check. We will be all together and that´s my main simple philosophy.

 

Who else will be in your coaching staff?

 

We 'll sit down and discuss it.. Miro (Satan) had some ideas, but we are still considering some people that I know from the past and some who I don't know and Miro does. We have few days where we can talk where we want to go. I am just happy to have Vladimir Orszagh and Jan Lasak with me and we all going to work well together.

 

What made you decide to accept the offer coming from Slovakia?

 

It was pretty simple. Miro called me I think it was Friday and I had two days of golfing and I was feeling pretty good about everything and he surprised me. I didn't tell my wife until next day. When I told her she said we are going. So I was in. I talked to some friends Jeff Ward, Zdeno Chara and other guys to ask about the Slovak hockey where they thought the team was. They were all very excited about the possibility of me coming over and coaching. It didn't take me very long to really make up my mind after that. I tried to cover as many details as I could and I was really excited about doing something completely different for me.

 

There was no NHLer on this year’s World Championship roster. Are you going to change that in the future, try to phone them and see them?

 

I would hope that if they come up and they are available I would like to think they may want to come with Miro and myself. He would be more in touch with the NHL players, but I would like to think they would see what's being done here, the progress, and they would want to be involved. We see the growth of this young people and they become better players and I like them around of our hockey team.

 

Are you a strict coach or a more democratic one?

 

Democratic? Not so much. I am always willing to listen a little bit. I tell players what to do and they do it. I think it's important. I went through that in Boston with Zdeno Chara. When I first came there I was telling the defencemen to do something and they weren´t doing it. After that we had a nice short meeting and decided that from now on that doors were not open. I tell you what to do and you do it. After that I am a pretty easy guy to be along with. As long as you do what you are told, you can come and talk to me.

 

Will you stay here in Slovakia during the whole season?

 

I don´t think the first trip would be very long, but I told Miro that I am going to be available. The second time it would be probably two months I think. In the Christmas time I will have a little break then I will go back again. There is work to be done and I have to learn about the people so we are going to do some scouting and watch the players. I will be very much available, I don't look at it as a part-time job. I want to be a part of the learning curve of the team.

 

Was the offered salary part of your decision?

 

The salary was not a big deal. I didn't do it for the money. I did it because the people I knew and the opportunity to have impact on the team and the growth of the hockey here. I was lucky to meet few of the players while I worked in NHL so I am not here for the money.

 

Where do you see the Slovak national team in two years from now?

 

I would really like to see the Slovak team competing with the top teams. I always believe I can make a difference. With our staff we can help this team with ideas Miro already has. We can make players and the team better. But we can't do it tomorrow. It's going to take some time and we get young people and we can get them to understand the intensity and commitment to be part of this team. Then we can be better and we can be growing as an organization.

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hckosice    1,182
On 8/15/2017 at 20:52, phelps said:

 

1-I agree...playing a Memorial Tournament far away from the home of the people you're supposed to commemorate is just senseless...:facepalm:

but you know...nowadays is everything all only about money...and when we talk of hockey and money, North America is the place to be...:dunno:

 

2-aaagh!!!! :yikes:

that's very bad news for me (and not only for me, I guess)...

I hope they just make up their minds and take some money off for the KHL, too...

however, I haven't seen any more football on their schedule...it's still the same French and Itallian leagues and the German Cup + the European qualifiers to Russia 2018...so, the money should still be there...I keep my fingers crossed (and in the meantime I just set up my dish to perfection...just in case)...:fingers:

 

3-at least that...:d;)

 

 

Good news for you :d As I said, they avoided the riots and bought the rights :p

 

All 56 Slovan matches will be live on Sport 2 (with few exceptions) and all other top matches of the new season will be on Sport 1. In total they will broadcast 120 this seasons KHL regular season matches live. You can find the TV schedule of the first days in the bottom of this article https://sport.aktuality.sk/c/291559/slovan-zostava-i-nadalej-na-obrazovkach-sport-tv/

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phelps    253
42 minutes ago, hckosice said:

 

 

Good news for you :d As I said, they avoided the riots and bought the rights :p

 

All 56 Slovan matches will be live on Sport 2 (with few exceptions) and all other top matches of the new season will be on Sport 1. In total they will broadcast 120 this seasons KHL regular season matches live. You can find the TV schedule of the first days in the bottom of this article https://sport.aktuality.sk/c/291559/slovan-zostava-i-nadalej-na-obrazovkach-sport-tv/

 

great news! :d

I read it this morning on Sport1/2 website (I check their schedule quite regularly)...

however, yesterday I saw the season opener on a satellite feed (with Russian commentary...which is more or less the same as Slovakian for me...I understand just names and numbers...and not always  :lol::facepalm:)...

not a great game, to be honest...the hype was a lot higher than the actual show on the ice...SKA was too strong and CSKA didn't even tried that hard to stop them...

now I'm on an other sat feed with Dinamo Riga playing in Omsk...it was close until a few moments ago, but then Avangard scored 3 goals early into the 3rd period, which should seal the victory for them (game's almost over)...

I hope to find at least 1 more sat feed later (normally there are more feeds of the games starting at 7.30 p.m. Moscow time...early games are rare exceptions...I don't know why?)...

in any case, I'm very happy for Sport 1/2 getting back to the usual business...:d

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hckosice    1,182

Friendly Matches

23rd August 2017

 

Mens

Czech Republic - Slovakia  0-2

 

Winning debut for the Canadian coach Craig Ramsey in his new office. Still a very very long road to go for our hockey, but we saw and felt today in the air that many things have already changed, we saw some new enthusiasm and clear will :yes

 

and it´s still great to beat the Czechs in hockey and in their soil...hopefully they will not do some reciprocity tomorrow during the 2nd game, this time in Žilina (SVK) :p

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hckosice    1,182

Friendly Matches

23rd August 2017

 

Mens

Slovakia - Czech Republic   1-2

 

and the reciprocity happened, but the Czechs were clearly better and much more motivated today

 

the video of todays match will be added later, so far the highlights of yesterdays match

 

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hckosice    1,182

SOUTHEAST ASIAN GAMES 2017

 

image.png 

 

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Philippines win SEA Games gold

Host Malaysia gets bronze in historic event

image.jpeg

 

The first ice hockey tournament of the Southeast Asian Games ended with a surprise winner. The Philippines, who joined the IIHF just one year ago and had their international debut in February at the 2017 Asian Winter Games in Japan, beat Thailand 5-4 in the deciding game and dethroned the Thai as number-one ice hockey national team in the region. Host Malaysia won bronze.

The Philippines already had a convincing start half a year earlier in Sapporo where they lost the first game to Kyrgyzstan but then beat Qatar, Kuwait and Macau to finish the Division II tournament in third place.

In Kuala Lumpur the Filipinos played for the first time in an official competition against other nations from the Southeast Asian region. They started with an easy 12-0 win and four goals from captain John Steven Fuglister, who learned his hockey in Switzerland but moved to the country of his mother three years ago. He also shone in the second game with a hat trick in a 7-2 win over Singapore where Carl Michael Montano added two goals.

Things became tougher in their third game against host Malaysia in front of 3,102 fans who filled the brand-new Malaysia National Ice Skating Stadium. Montano gave the Philippines a 2-0 lead with his two markers but then Fuglister was assessed a major penalty for checking to the head and neck area. The Filipinos extended the lead to 5-1 until midway the game but Malaysia fought back. Chee Ming Bryan Lim, Ban Kin Loke and Mohd Hariz Mohd Oryza scored three unanswered goals before the end of the second period and captain Loke added two more goals to give Malaysia a 6-5 lead with just over five minutes remaining in regulation time.

The Philippines reacted with a pair of goals from Paul Gabriel Sanchez but with 62 seconds left Lim tied the game for Malaysia. After a scoreless overtime period a penalty-shot shootout had to decide. Sanchez and Montano succeeded with their attempts to win the shootout 2-1 and remain undefeated.

Thailand, until this week the undisputed number one from Southeast Asia in international ice hockey, was their opponent on the final day. The Thai even beat the other three opponents more convincingly. Six different scorers hit the back of the net in a 7-0 blanking of Singapore. In the 10-4 victory against the ambitious host Malaysia the first line shone scoring seven goals to come back from a 2-1 deficit. Thai-Japanese forward Hideki Nagayama, who from the Thai league moved to the Danish second-tier league via one year of junior hockey in Canada, scored four goals while team captain Tewin Chartsuwan had a hat trick. In the 12-0 blanking of Indonesia the second line was responsible for eight goals including a Phandaj Khuhakaew hat trick.

The start of the Philippines-Thailand game, which became a winner-takes-it-all clash for gold, was delayed by almost three hours after Philippines captain Fuglister was assessed a suspension following the incident the day before and the Philippines filed an appeal. It was to no avail so they had to battle against the Thai without their best scorer.

However, the Filipinos came out on fire. Thai captain Chartsuwan took a kneeing penalty after 16 seconds of play and Benjamin Jorge Imperial scored the power-play goal one-and-a-half minutes later. The Thai continued to be under pressure with penalty trouble and Sanchez added two more power-play markers for a 3-0 lead after 14 minutes of play. Francois Emmanuel Gautier capitalized on the first man advantage of the second period to give the Filipinos a four-goal lead.

That’s when the Thai found back to their A-game and played more disciplined. They eventually outshot the Philippines 44-26 throughout the game and started their comeback. Chanchieo Supadilokluk scored his team’s first goal 28 seconds later and Papan Thanakroekkiat added two power-play goals for Thailand including the 4-3 goal with one second left in the second period.

But the Filipinos avoided a meltdown with a stronger showing in the third period. Javier Alfonso Cadiz extended the lead to two goals with his marker at 10:59 of the third period but the Thai didn’t give up. Masato Kitayama, the other forward with Japanese roots, gave the team new hope with a power-play goal with 3:29 left in regulation time. The Thai pulled the goaltender but Gianpietro Iseppi in the Philippines net had a strong night and the 5-4 lead stayed with the final buzzer to give the Philippines gold in the first ever SEA Games ice hockey tournament.

Neighbours Malaysia and Singapore faced off for the bronze medal that also ended with a changing of the guard. Singapore had beaten Malaysia 5-4 in the last encounter in March at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Challenge Cup of Asia in Bangkok and held a 2W-1T-1L record against the Malays. But in front of a record crowd of 4,024 fans Malaysia got its first win in an official game against Singapore since 2008.

In an opening frame with many chances and penalties on both sides Singapore opened the scoring with a power-play goal from James Nicholas Kodrowski at 6:56. The Malays reacted when two Singapore players sat in the sin bin. Mohd Hariz Mohd Oryza and Chee Ming Bryan Lim capitalized on the situation with two goals but with one second left in the period Kodrowski scored his second PP goal to tie the game at two.

The teams were more disciplined in the second period in which Lim scored the only goal midway the frame to give Malaysia its first lead. The host nation changed the game in their favour with five unanswered goals in the third period including a classic hat trick from Lim, who ended up scoring five goals in the game to lead Malaysia to the bronze medal. Singapore had to settle for fourth place getting its only points in a 6-1 victory against winless Indonesia.

The last game gave Lim the title of the top goal scorer of the tournament with nine goals (13 points) in four games. Philippine forward Sanchez was the top point scorer with 14 points (8+6). The Philippines also had the goalie with the best save percentage with Iseppi’s 91.67%.

For the Philippines the historic gold medal came two years before the country is scheduled as next host of the traditional multisport event that could give the region a boost in promoting the sport. Ice hockey was the first winter sport ever played at the SEA Games and with the tournament over figure skating and short-track speed skating events follow at the same full-size ice rink located in the Empire City mall outside Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

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