Italy to battle Czech Republic for fifth place

South Korea and Sweden will play each other for seventh place in the ice sledge hockey tournament. 14 Mar 2014
Zdenek Krupicka

Zdenek Krupicka of the Czech Republic celebrates after winning the Ice Sledge Hockey Classification match between Korea and the Czech Republic

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By Ryan McKenna | For the IPC

South Korea will look to pick up a victory against Sweden in the seventh-place game on Friday at 13:00 (MSK).

Italy have said all along that their goal at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games was to finish in fifth place, and on Friday (13 March) they will have a chance to do so when they face the Czech Republic in ice sledge hockey classification action.

The contest, which is slated for 20:00 (MSK), will be the second of two classification games on Day 7 at Shayba Arena.

Italy are coming off a thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over Sweden on Wednesday (11 March), when they launched 34 shots on the net. No matter what the result of Friday’s match against the Czech Republic, it will be Italy’s highest finish at any Paralympic ice sledge hockey tournament.

“Overall I'm happy,” defenceman Gianluca Cavaliere said on Italy’s Sochi 2014 showing. “But obviously there is always room for improvement. We could have done better in the first games."

The Czech Republic defeated South Korea 2-0 in the later classification game on Wednesday when they received a fantastic goaltending performance by Michal Vapenka.

Vapenka made 19 saves to record the shutout and his teammates think that kind of performance is key if they should be successful against Italy.

South Korea will look to pick up a victory against Sweden in the seventh-place game on Friday at 13:00 (MSK).

The South Koreans, who are preparing to host PyeongChang 2018, have not won a game since their Day 1 victory over Russia in a shoot-out but will be looking to finish Sochi 2014 strong.

They will need to produce some offence to do so, having only scored four goals all tournament long.

Min-Su Han has scored two goals while their main offensive threat, Swung-Hwan Jung leads the team with three points.

Sweden are coming off their best game yet, where they had a good mix of offence and great goaltending.

Per Kasperi was the main man for Sweden in Wednesday’s game against Italy, scoring twice. He now is tied for second in tournament goal scoring with three goals and has four points which leads his team.

The last time the two teams met was at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Qualification Tournament when South Korea clipped Sweden 4-2. Jung had a goal and two assists in that game to lead South Korea offensively.

"We have to melt this down,” Sweden’s Per Kasperi said. “We will get together and talk and recharge.”