PyeongChang 2018: Seung-Hwan Jung keeps South Korea hopes alive

Hosts remains undefeated in Para ice hockey with overtime win over Czech Republic 11 Mar 2018 By IPC

Star forward Seung-Hwan Jung kept South Korea’s hopes of advancing to its first Paralympic semi-final alive with a game-winning goal just 13 seconds into the overtime period to defeat the Czech Republic 3-2 on Sunday (11 March) at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

Four years after losing to the Czech Republic twice in Para ice hockey at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics – at which Jung was both the Opening and Closing Ceremony flag bearer for his country – he was ecstatic to help the South Korean Para ice hockey team turn the tables on its opponents to remain undefeated on its home ice.

“I was very glad that I could score the winning goal in the game and that there was a large audience I was being cheered on by,” Jung said. “I’m also very thankful for all of the people who came here, all the spectators and the media focusing on Para ice hockey and this game today.”

The host nation now sits comfortably atop Group B in preliminary play and is on the verge of qualifying for the Paralympic semi-finals for the first time in history.

The game opened with a scoreless first period, as South Korea outshot the Czech Republic, 4-0; neither team could successfully maintain control of the puck for a suitable amount of time.

After 3:28 ticked off the clock in the second period, forward Ju-Seung Lee took it to the house, throttling the puck past goaltender Michal Vapenka’s left side without hesitation to put South Korea up 1-0. Vapenka, a father of three who represented the Czech Republic in sitting volleyball at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympics, made a series of spectacular saves in the final portion of the period to fend off a forceful South Korean attack.

Midway through the third period, three-time Paralympian Michal Geier of the Czech Republic swept up a pass from Pavel Kubes and slapped the puck diagonally across the crease and into the goal to knot up the score. Then, as time was winding down, Jung came up clutch in front of the deafening home support with a swipe of the puck to the back of the net with only 2:07 remaining in regulation. Just as spectators believed the game to be over, Geier once again silenced the crowd with his second goal of the day with 39 seconds left on the clock.

Jung then needed only 13 seconds in the overtime period to electrify the crowd once again, slicing the puck into the net to give South Korea the go-ahead goal and secure the victory.

Man-Gyun Yu was the winning goaltender with eight stops, and Vapenka finished the day with an impressive 19 saves.

South Korea will now have a day of rest, while the Czech Republic will now go up against defending Paralympic champions USA at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.

Every competition as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.