“It feels really good to win and to move up to the A Pool. I’m excited we can now go to South Korea, as I’ve never been to that part of the world.”
While no medals were awarded in Novi Sad, Serbia on Friday (16 November), it may have been the most significant day at the 2012 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey B Pool World Championships, as both Sweden and Russia won their semi-final games to secure spots in the A Pool for 2013.
For Sweden, it appeared a bit of a surprise when they defeated Germany, 3-0, with all three of their goals being scored in the final period.
Niklas Ingvarsson embraced Per Kasperi in the centre of the ice when the final buzzer went off, as the two were ecstatic to move onto the finals in Novi Sad, as well as the 2013 A Pool World Championships in Goyang City, Korea in April.
“It feels really good to win and to move up to the A Pool,” Kasperi said. “I’m excited we can now go to South Korea, as I’ve never been to that part of the world.”
Sweden looked like they were lacking confidence at first against Germany, as Frank Rennhack and Robert Pabst lead a quick German charge out of the gates, but by the third period the Swedes were easily outpacing their opponents.
Ingvarsson was credited with an own-goal by Germany just over two minutes into the final period and then he assisted on Kasperi’s goal nearly six minutes later. Another chip in by Kasperi in the final four minutes padded Sweden’s lead for good.
“We had good focus, we played good defense, and we did a good job following through in the third period, when we finally played our game,” Ingvarsson said.
In the evening’s first semi-final, Russia dominated the ice once again, this time with a 7-0 victory over Poland. The Russians are now undefeated in Novi Sad, having outscored their opponents, 19-2 in three games, with the two opposing goals both coming from Germany.
Engeny Petrov got the scoring started early for the Russians, finding the next just 5:23 into the contest and then within a span of five minutes Ruslan Tuchin notched two more goals to put Russia ahead 3-0.
The game continued to go the Russians’ way the remainder of the evening, as Konstantin Shikhov scored twice, Vadim Selyukin found the net and Tuchin notched another goal to finish off his hat trick.
Russia outshot Poland 32-3 in the matchup – with two of Poland’s shot from player-coach Sylwester Flis – and goalie Vladimir Kamantcev was awarded Player of the Game honours after recording a second shutout in as many days for Russia.
“It’s been a really good tournament so far,” Kozhenikov said. “It started out a bit rough against Germany but we’ve gotten much better.
"I'm not feeling excited about moving to the A Pool yet, but maybe I will tomorrow after we win the final game.”
Next up, Sweden and Russia will battle for gold on Saturday at 20:00. Before that, Germany and Poland will challenge for bronze at 17:00 and Austria and the Netherlands will play for fifth place at 14:00.