Ostersund 2021 World Championships B-Pool ended in thrilling fashion with hosts Sweden beating Japan after a shootout (2-1) in the last game of the tournament.
Both teams needed a triumph to book the last available ticket to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games Qualification Tournament later this year.
After a goalless first period, forward Yudai Ishikawa opened up the second period with a goal for Japan. Their lead lasted until the middle of the third period when veteran Niklas Ingvarsson tied the game with a precise shot from the right corner.
The game went to overtime with the teams failing to score as they headed to shootout. Sweden's Rasmus Lundgren was the only one to score out of the three Swedish and three Japanese players.
Goaltender Ulf Nilsson was the hero of the day saving the last shot by Mamoru Yoshikawa.
"This means everything. I tried to trick Japanese players during the shootout. Honestly, their shots were pretty bad," said Nilsson with a smile.
Shen shines again against Germany
In the second game of the day, China won over Germany 10-2 and took home their first B-Pool Worlds title.
Chinese players were brilliant in the first period where they scored seven goals and conceded only one. Forward Yi Feng Shen pulled four and assisted for another two goals only in the first period.
“Our goal is always the same, here in Ostersund or at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games. We want to do our best,” said Shen. “This performance was a positive surprise for me. I want to thank our coaches and my teammates, we did it all together.”
Zhi Dong Wang followed in Shen’s footsteps with four goals to his name. Captain Yu Tao Cui added two more in the German net to round up an easy victory and a successful tournament.
Robert Pabst and Christian Pilz scored for Germany in the first and third period. Both teams had already achieved promotion to the next World Championships A-Pool.
Finland stays in the B-Pool
In Wednesday's opening game, Finland triumphed against Poland 2-1 and secured a spot in the B-Pool next season.
Captain Harri Kangastie scored in the first period of play, while Markku Vesikansa doubled the lead in the second stanza.
“We are very happy that we won in this game. We knew that Poland would be our main opponent because we have been on the same level in the past years. Usually we lost, but this time we were able to win,” said Kangastie.
The most experienced Polish player Sylwester Flis gave his team hope two minutes before the end by scoring a counterattack goal. Unfortunately for them, Finland defended well and took the victory.
It was Finland’s first-ever victory in the B-Pool and also their first triumph in an official game since November 2018 and the game against Australia (6-1) in Vierumaki at the World Championships C-Pool.
Polish goalie Kamil Zgorzynski saved 13 shots and was one of the best Poland’s players on ice once again, while his colleague Timo Karko had eight saves on the other side.
The result meant Poland was relegated to the C-Pool.
China, Germany and Sweden will meet again this year during the Paralympic Winter Games Qualification Tournament where they will be joined by Italy, Norway and Slovakia.
Trophies for the best players of the tournament were awarded after the last game in Ostersund. Sweden’s Ulf Nilsson was selected the best goalie, his national team colleague Daniel Ingvarsson was awarded as the best defenseman, while the trophy as best forward went to China’s Yi Feng Shei.
All the results and information about the teams can be found on the Ostersund 2021 microsite.