Slovenia wins in Katowice
Slovenia wins in Katowice
Division I teams compete in Latvia, Poland
Katowice in southern Poland, which will host the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A, also played host to one of the EIHC events that included four teams who will come back in April to battle for promotion to the 2017 Worlds.
More than five months away from the event it was Slovenia which succeeded on Polish ice.
After a 2-1 win against host Poland thanks to David Rodman’s game winner at 7:54 of the third period the Slovenes won the neighbouring clash against Austria 5-1 before ending the tournament with a 4-1 victory against Korea.
The Slovenes were able to count on the firepower of some of its top forwards with Ziga Jeglic (3+1) and David Rodman (2+2) collecting four points each. Only Austria’s Manuel Ganahl had better numbers (2+3).
Austria finished in second place while Poland got its only victory against winless Korea. While suffering to tight defeats against Austria and Slovenia, which were relegated to the Division I Group A last spring, the Poles beat Korea 3-1 thanks to three unanswered first-period goals from Adam Wronka, Maciej Urbanowicz and Marcin Kolusz, and strong goaltending from Przemyslaw Odrobny, who had 37 saves.
The host of the 2018 Olympics travelled to Europe to gain more game experience with the ambition of improving the national team program before facing the top hockey nations in less than three years in PyeongChang 2018.
Belarus won another EIHC tournament at the Baltic Sea. In Liepaja also host Latvia and Division I teams Italy and Japan were competing. The Belarusians shut out Italy (1-0) and Japan (3-0) and were the only team to beat Latvia.
2,000 fans filled the ice rink and saw the home team earn the lead with a Martins Karsums marker after 20 seconds of play. Karsums became the scoring leader with 3+1 points but despite his two markers in the game it was Belarus which replied with three unanswered goals from Nikita Ustinenko, Andrei Filichkin and Pavel Musienko before eventually winning the game 4-3.
Latvia had to settle for second place ahead of Italy and Japan. After a disappointing Division I Group A campaign last spring the Italians took revenge against Japan and blanked the Asians 3-0 thanks to goals from Martin Castlunger, Thomas Larkin and Anton Bernard to claim third place in the tournament.
Larkin, an NHL fifth-round draft pick who grew up in Italy, returned to Europe after nine years in North America to play for the KHL’s Medvescak Zagreb.
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