Czech Republic to play Japan in final at Worlds B-Pool

A 3-0 win for Czech Republic sees them unbeaten in two games, whilst Japan also claimed victory over Great Britain. 30 Nov 2016
Two ice sledge hockey players on the ice

Host nation Japan finished runners up to the Czech Republic at the 2016 World Championships B-Pool

ⒸShuhei Koganezawa and IPC

“Against the Czech Republic the whole team has to defend well and when the chance occurs, the puck must go in.”

Host nation Japan will face the Czech Republic in the final of the 2016 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships B-Pool after both teams won their respective games in Tomakomai on Wednesday (30 November).

The Czech Republic claimed a 3-0 victory over rivals Slovakia, securing their place in Saturday’s (3 December) decider with one game to spare.

After a scoreless first period which saw the Slovakian defence and goaltender Eduard Lepacek prevent an advancing Czech Republic from finding the net, the second stanza produced two goals.

Zdenek Habl slid one past Slovakia at 17:56, assisted by Michal Geier and Zdenek Krupicka. The Czech Republic kept the pressure up, and under two minutes later Geier found the net with the help of Jiri Raul.

Having relaxed a little with a two-goal lead, the Czech Republic switched fully into offensive mode in the third period. David Palat got on the scoreboard at 41:09, as two of Slovakia’s players were consigned to the box.

Defender Pavel Kubes was pleased with his side’s second win of the Championships, having achieved a 12-0 win over Great Britain on Tuesday (29 November).

“I am satisfied with the team’s performance. I think everyone put in full effort,” Kubes said. “We all knew what the game is about and that we needed to win this game in order to secure the place in the final. So it’s definitely satisfying. We completed the task.”

Kubes also looked ahead to their penultimate game on Friday (2 December), where they will play Japan in a preview of the final match.

“The next game is all about the seeding. We played against Japan not so long ago. We know they do not give up easily, last long and have good endurance. We will need to forecheck well, be aggressive, and concentrate on our game.”

Japan v Great Britain, 6-0

Japan secured their place in the final against Czech Republic with a 6-0 win over Great Britain.

The hosts dominated the game as captain Satoru Sudo opened the scoring at 02:55. From then on, Sudo handed over to Masahuru Kumagai who claimed the rest of his team’s goals.

Scoring two in the first period, followed by another in the second and two in the third, Kumagai was deserving of the Player of the Game accolade for Japan.

There were other opportunities to score but, as alluded to by Kumagai in his post-game interview, Japan will need to work on their accuracy as many of their shots catapulted wide.

“Today we played very well and we are satisfied as a team but there were a lot of chances to get more goals so next time we will do our best to change these chances into goals,” Kumagai said.

“Against the Czech Republic the whole team has to defend well and when the chance occurs, the puck must go in.”

Great Britain’s goaltender Rob Gaze repeated his reliable performance from Tuesday, making 32 saves.

Japan will play Czech Republic on Friday whilst Great Britain faces Slovakia in the last of the preliminary games. The final matches will take place on Saturday (3 December).

All games are being shown live online.

The top three finishers from the 2016 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships B-Pool will progress to the Qualification Tournament for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

Full results are available at the Tomakomai 2016 website.