Czech Republic hold off Japan for first win at IPC Ice Sledge Hockey

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After falling short in their opening game, the Czech Republic came out roaring against Japan on Monday (27 April) at the 2015 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A-Pool, which are taking place in Buffalo, New York in the USA.

Two-time Paralympian Michal Geier anchored the Czech attack in their 2-1 win over Japan at the HARBORCENTER, scoring an even-strength goal at the 8:04 mark in the second period, and another at the 4:25 mark in the third period.

With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Masaharu Kumagai slipped the puck into the net off a pass from Satoru Sudo to give Japan their first goal of the Championships, but it was too little too late for the eighth-seeded team.

Czech goaltender Jan Matousek recorded nine saves on the day, and the Czech defence, led by Pavel Kubes, had an extremely impressive second period in which they allowed just one shot on goal.

“It wasn’t easy to get motivated for this game after yesterday’s loss,” Geier said. “The start of the game was difficult, but when we scored the first one we really found our way, and we were able to control the game by its end.”

The Czechs are now in third place in the Group A standings with a 1-1 record, with Japan sitting in fourth place with an 0-2 record.

CANADA 5, NORWAY 0
In a rematch of the Sochi 2014 bronze-medal game, Canada defeated Norway, 5-0, to stay in first place in Group A with a 2-0 record in Buffalo.

Adam Dixon started off the scoring 5:37 into the game for Canada, coming out of his defensive position to attack the net. About a minute later, hard-hitting forward Brad Bowden crossed a pass at the top of the ice to team captain Greg Westlake, who stuck the puck in the net to score his sixth goal of the Championships. Emerging forward Tyler McGregor closed out the first period with an even-strength goal at the 12-minute mark to push Canada’s lead to 3-0.

Billy Bridges, husband of two-time Olympic champion Sami Jo Small, then found the net in both the second and third periods to seal the victory for Canada.

Kjell Christian Hamar had 19 saves in the net for Norway, while Canada’s Corbin Watson was credited with six saves.

RUSSIA 3, ITALY 0
The Sochi 2014 silver medallists posted a 3-0 shutout over the European champions, as new goaltender Evgenii Plotnikov stopped all seven shots that came his way.

Former wheelchair basketball player Vasilii Varlakov scored an even-strength goal in the opening five minutes of the game before Russian teammate Sergei Panfilov found the net in the second and St. Petersburg native Aleksei Lysov padded the team’s lead with a score in the third.

Russia outshot Italy 18-7, and it was Plotnikov – a newcomer to the squad this season, replacing star goaltender Vladimir Kamantcev because of an illness – who carried the team.

“It was very pleasant for me to not allow any goals,” Plotnikov said. “We are here to win the Championship, and we’re now still able to achieve that after this win.”

USA 7, GERMANY 0
The second day of play in Buffalo concluded with the host nation’s 7-0 victory over Germany to put them atop Group B with a 2-0 record.

Forward Declan Farmer, one of the fastest rising players in the game, started off the USA’s scoring by pushing the puck from centre ice into the net just 6:32 into the game. About two minutes later, a scrum in front of the net ended with Buffalo’s own Adam Page sticking the puck in to make it 2-0, with the assist credited to USA teammate Josh Pauls.

At the 12:03 mark, Pauls scored on a power play, and then just 11 seconds later Page put it between the pipes again – assisted by team captain Josh Sweeney – to make it 4-0.

In the second frame, another Buffalo native, Paul Schaus, scored, while first-year player Sam Mumper added a goal. Chicago’s Brody Roybal then tallied his second score of the tournament to extend the USA’s lead to seven.

“It seems everything was going in that we were putting toward the net,” Page said. “But now, we’ve just got to focus on the next game.”

CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE
All teams will have a rest day on Tuesday (28 April) before the final day of preliminary round action. On Wednesday (29 April), Germany will challenge Russia at 10:30am (ET), and that will be followed by USA-Italy at 2pm (ET), Canada-Czech Republic at 5:30pm (ET) and Norway-Japan at 9pm (ET).

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