IIHF World Championship round up - day twelve

Thursday, 12th May 2005

Hockey correspondent Tambo gives us the news and views from the International Ice Hockey Federation Championship competition.


Slovenia beat Austria to retain their place in the Elite group for the championships in Latvia in 2006. Austria completed a miserable tournament as hosts and are relegated to Division 1 along with Germany.

With so much at stake and the Austrians needing 8 goals to stay up, the game started in a frenzy. Both teams sat out a pair of roughing minors within the first 2 mins. Austria had the crowd on their feet at 4.06 when Kaspitz scored on the backhand. The period continued in the same vein with both teams taking minor penalties, thus stopping the flow. The period ended 1-0 and the Austrians still had a mountain to climb.

Austria roared out of the traps in the second, in search of goals but Glavic was having an inspired game in goal for Slovenia. Despite constant pressure by Austria, it was Slovenia who scored next. At 25.14, again on the powerplay, Terglay passed to Ivo Jan who sent a one timer into the net. 1-1 and the crowd were silent, well half of them anyway. Austria continued gamely on, but it was the Slovenians, who needed to win to stay up, who gradually got the upper hand. They went 2-1 on 34.05 with a shot from Ciglenecki which Rodman tipped past the Austrian goalie. Slovenia went further ahead at 36.48 with a fine individual goal from Razingar, who picked up a loose puck on his own blue line, set off down the left and deposited the puck through the legs of Brueckler.

Austria gave themselves a glimmer of hope for at least a positive result, if not the one they were looking for, early in the third when Unterluggauer scored at 41.07.
However it was Slovenia who ran out easy winners with 2 more goals from Ivo Jan and a mark from Dervaric made it 6-2 and they could look forward to another year with the big boys of ice hockey.

The result means relegation for Austria and Germany, who drop to division 1 for next season and a possible meeting with GB. They will be replaced in Latvia by Norway and Italy.

So to the big boys and the quarterfinals which will be played in Innsbruck and Vienna this afternoon and tonight.

Czech Republic v USA

The Czechs, with over half the roster that were beaten at home at the same stage by USA last year, are yearning for revenge. USA has been getting stronger every game and the Czechs will have to be wary of a resurgent Mike Modano and the ever-dangerous Knuble. With Jagr, Rucinsky and Prospal all on top form this will be a close game to call. My prediction... a narrow win for Czech Republic.

Russia v Finland

This game should be a hockey fest with the hard hitting non compromising Finns up against the form team of the championship. Last time these two met was in the early group stage last year and it ended in a 4-4 tie. This should again be a close contest and the Finns will need to contain Kovalchuk, Datsyuk and Ovechkin if they are to progress. My prediction... my heart says Finland but the head says a win for Russia.

Canada v Slovakia

Canada knocked out Slovakia last year with a very controversial goal. Slovakia are still brooding over that one and will be going all out to redress a perceived injustice. Canada have stuttered to this stage with their game going from the sublime and great hockey from the Nash, Thornton line to almost rec hockey defending. They will have to have 100% concentration if they want to continue their quest for a third gold medal in a row. My prediction... win for Canada

Sweden v Switzerland

Switzerland has made it to the quarterfinal stage for the third year in a row and will be looking to progress for the first time. Sweden has, at times been in superb form and should have too much firepower in Alfredsson and Zetterberg for the Swiss. However Switzerland have improved quietly as the competition has gone on and could shock the Swedes if they don’t bring their A game to the rink. My prediction... win for Sweden

Ok, that’s it for today. Time to get ready for the first game at 1500, BBQ afterwards and the evening game at 1900.

See you tomorrow with a full report and preview of the semis


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