Japan, Czech Republic take opening wins at Worlds

A thrilling opening game for hosts Japan highlighted the first day of action at the 2016 Worlds B-Pool in Tomakomai. 29 Nov 2016
Man in white jersey and black helmet on a sledge

Masaharu Kumugai of Japan at the Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY. April 30, 2015. 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool.

ⒸBill Wippert

Host nation Japan and the Czech Republic secured maximum points in their opening games of the 2016 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships B-Pool in Tomakomai on Tuesday (29 November).

Japan triumphed 3-1 over Slovakia, the bronze medallists from the 2015 edition in Ostersund, Sweden.

In what was a tight game, the Japanese fans carried their team to victory. Masaharu Kumagai was the star of the show, finding the net at 03:32 and 08:21 to put two on the board for Japan, assisted by team captain Satoru Sudo.

Slovakia came back towards the end of the stanza, with Marian Ligda preventing his team from going into the break goal-less.

The second period saw a determined Slovakian side come out fighting, but despite seven shots on goal they could not find the back of the net.

Sudo was the hero in the third period, delivering the knock-out blow for Japan from in front of the net to the delight of his fans.

Eduard Lepacek, playing at his first World Championships, made some impressive saves in goal to take Player of the Game for Slovakia. The 22-year-old participated in an IPC Ice Sledge Hockey youth camp in 2015 in Hannover, Germany.

Czech Republic v Great Britain, 12-0

The Czech Republic dominated against Great Britain, winning 12-0 and controlling the offensive zone.

Four goals came for the Czech Republic in the first period, courtesy of forwards Michal Geier and Zdenek Krupicka who scored a total of nine goals between them across the game.

Krupicka opened the scoring at 02:43, despite his team being shorthanded, assisted by Geier.

The pair then took it in turns to find the net three more times in the first stanza.

Geier and Krupicka completed their hat tricks in the second period, whilst Pavel Dolezal and team captain Zdenek Safranek added a further two goals.

Geier scored another goal in the third. Krupicka was also active again, firing a shot past Great Britain’s Rob Gaze to bring his game total to four and take the Player of the Game award. Forward Jiri Raul was an integral part of the Czech Republic’s attack, working mainly with Geier to assist in six of their goals.

Gaze was recognised for making 21 saves in total to claim his team’s Best Player accolade.

Japan will play Great Britain on Wednesday (30 November) whilst Czech Republic face Slovakia. All games are being shown live at the Tomakomai 2016 competition website.

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.

Competition runs until 3 December. More information is available online.