“This really has been a huge step for us on the road to Sochi, and it’s just the beginning of what you’ll see from us there.”
Speedy Seung-Hwan Jung stole the spotlight on the second day of the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Qualification Tournament on Tuesday (22 October) in Torino, Italy, netting two goals to lead South Korea to a 4-1 victory over Germany and keep his team undefeated in the tournament.
Two of Jung’s four shots on the net went past German goaltender Simon Kunst, and his quick speed was unrivalled throughout the game – looking even faster than he was at April’s World Championships A-Pool on his home ice in Goyang.
“This really has been a huge step for us on the road to Sochi, and it’s just the beginning of what you’ll see from us there,” Jung said of South Korea’s two victories in Torino.
“However, we can still play even better so people should be afraid of us, because we can win every game here this week.”
Against Germany, Jung scored at the 13:50 mark in the first period and the 0:18 mark in the second period, and then teammate Jong-Kyung Lee shot the puck into the net at the 7:29 mark in the second period to give South Korea a padded 3-0 lead.
Bernhard Hering recorded Germany’s lone goal at the 11:58 mark in the second, but Youg-Min Lee then fired back with a goal for South Korea in the opening minutes of the final period.
Despite increasing their aggressiveness on the ice in the final minutes, Germany were unable to produce a comeback, leaving them winless in Torino thus far.
Italy 2, Japan 1
Earlier in the day, backed by the support of an announced crowd of 1,700 Torino fans, top-seeded Italy escaped with a 2-1 victory over Japan with strong play yet again from forward Florian Planker.
Italy’s Bruno Balossetti scored first in the game at the 4:14 mark in the opening period off a pass from Planker, and then just over six minutes later Planker found the net himself, unassisted.
Eiji Misawa netted the puck for Japan with 6:27 left in the game, but the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic silver medallists were unable to capitalise on any of their chances around the net in the remaining minutes.
Mitsuru Nagase recorded 21 saves for Japan, with Gabriele Araudo only having to stop the puck three times for Italy to help secure the victory.
“We knew it would be a hard game because Japan have grown up a lot as a team in the last couple of years,” Planker said.
“They had some chances and were able to push with a score finally, and at the end it took a little bit of luck for us to keep them from doing it again.”
Planker currently leads all players in the tournament with three goals and two assists to his name.
Sweden 7, Great Britain 0
In the day’s final game, Sweden also picked up their second victory with a 7-0 decision over Great Britain.
Niklas Rakos and Per Kasperi both found the net within the first five minutes of the game for Sweden to give them an early 2-0 advantage, and then Niklas Ingvarsson scored on a power play in the second period to make it 3-0.
Sweden increased their attack in the final period, as Ingvarsson and Kasperi both scored again, and they also received goals from Rasmus Lundgren and Peter Ojala to push their lead to 7-0.
The Swedes outshot the British in the game 23-6. Gary Farmer led Great Britain with four shots on goal.
Next up, Italy will face Germany on Tuesday (22 October) at 10:00 local time, followed by Japan against Great Britain at 13:30 and South Korea against Sweden at 17:00.
South Korea, Italy and Sweden are all tied for first place in the tournament standings with six points each.
Japan, Germany and Great Britain have yet to receive any points.
Teams in the tournament earn three points for a win, two for an overtime or shoot-out win, one for an overtime or shoot-out loss and no points for a loss.
The top three finishers from the tournament will qualify for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, where they will join Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic and Norway.
For more information on the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Qualification Tournament, please visit the event website.
All games will be streamed live on the event website, and you can also follow the action on Facebook and on Twitter.