“We can concentrate in the games even during the serious situations, and we have a patient defence.”
Defenceman Waturu Horie has summarised the feeling in the Japanese camp ahead of the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool which begin in Buffalo, New York, USA on Sunday (26 April).
“As fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain,” he said, quoting Sun Tzu’s Art of War.
The sentiment of spiritual confidence is echoed throughout the team as they prepare for their crucial first preliminary round game against defending champions Canada.
“Canada will attack us with speed and combination, meanwhile we will attack them with strong defence and by leading their mistakes to a win,” forward Susuma Hirose added.
Japan’s defence is one of their key assets, especially as they look back to Vancouver 2010 where they carried out a shock defeat against the Canadians in the semi-finals and went on to win silver.
But they will also have to play Norway and the Czech Republic in Group A, two teams who are in Buffalo aiming to retain their A-Pool status alongside Japan. The bottom two finishers from the Worlds will be relegated to the B-Pool for the 2017 edition and will therefore make qualifying for PyeongChang 2018 more difficult.
Goaltender Mitsuru Nagase was prepared to go one step further suggesting that his team, with the help of the defence, can make it to the bronze medal game.
“We will do the best to keep the position of A-pool, and to obtain the best four,” he said. “We can concentrate in the games even during the serious situations, and we have a patient defence.”
Japan will play Canada on the opening day of Buffalo 2015 at 1pm ET. The tie will follow the other Group A game, between Norway and the Czech Republic at 9.30am ET.
Group B will feature opening clashes between Germany and Italy at 4.30pm and the USA v Russia at 8pm ET.
All games will be shown live at Buffalo2015.com alongside live results. The coverage will not be available in some territories due to rights restrictions.