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    Looking forward to Day 3 of IHWC Div I B in Sapporo

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 16日 Wednesday

    4/16 (Wed) Day 3 Games
    13:00 Croatia VS. Estonia
    16:30 Ukraine VS. Lithuania
    20:00 Hungary VS. Japan

    Looking at this standings after day 2 makes it clear that this group has 3 strong and 3 weak teams.

    The winner of Hungary vs Japan will gain the right to face Ukraine in the battle to win this tournament and earn a promotion to the top division. Japan has two straight shutouts, but of the 8 goals scored 7 have been on the power play, so I’m concerned about Japan’s ability to score on even strength. On the other hand Hungary surrendered 3 goals to Estonia, so we’ll see how super Szuper is today (ooh, that was a bad pun).

    Croatia vs Estonia could be an interesting game, but I’m sure everyone involved expects the Ukraine – Lithuania tilt to be a bore, that’s too bad.

    Posted in 02_English, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Day 1: 2008 IHWC Div I B in Sapporo

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 14日 Monday

    Opening day of the 2008 IHWC Division I Group B in Sapporo, Japan went as expected as the 3 favourites won handily over their weaker oppositions, controlling the play, as far as I can tell from the stats (no live TV coverage in the host country, shite). Japanese power play was extremely effective, scoring 4 goals, including one by Nishiwaki of the ECHL Dayton Bombers who just returned to Japan in time for the tournament and made his presence felt immediately.

    SAPPORO, Japan – Ukraine swept over the promoted Croats in the tournament opener while Hungary had a narrow win against Estonia. Hosts Japan had a perfect start in the evening game with a 5-0 against Lithuania.

    Lithuania – Japan 0-5 (0-4, 0-0, 0-1)
    SOG: 19 – 31
    PIM: 34 – 14

    Japan wanted immediately to prove to their fans in the packed Sapporo Arena that the team has the ambition to compete with Ukraine and Hungary for promotion to the 2009 World Championship in Switzerland. The hosts scored four unanswered goals in a furious opening period and they never looked back. Although, never really of promotion calibre, Lithuania has recently proved to be a very difficult opponent for the best teams on this level, but they were fundamentally outplayed during the first 20 minutes, and also outshot 17-8.

    Japan struck with goals approximately every fourth minute. After Yosuke Kon’s opener at 4:23, Masahito Nishiwaki (9:09) and Sho Sato (12:55) connected with power-play goals before Darcy Mitani finished the rampage at 18:02 with the 4-0 marker.

    The middle stanza was scoreless despite several Japanese power-play opportunities after the Lithuanians showed some poor composure, taking slashing, boarding and roughing minors.

    Ryuchi Kawai got his team’s third PP-goal early in the third to extinguish all hopes of a miraculous Lithuanian comeback. The Lithuanians continued to show frustration by taking bad penalties. Goaltender Nerijus Dauksevicius displayed the worst tempers when taking a 10-minute misconduct penalty (protesting an obvious call) with seven minutes left. Masahito Haruna got the shut-out, making 19 saves.

    Estonia – Hungary 3-5 (1-2, 2-1, 0-2)
    SOG: 11-46
    PIM: 16-12

    Croatia – Ukraine 0-4 (0-1, 0-1, 0-2)
    SOG: 27-41
    PIM: 10-12

    Hungary – Estonia highlights including a beautiful open ice hip check.

    Posted in 02_English, ECHL, hockey, information, International, Japan, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Oji wins 2008 AL Finals!

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 20日 Thursday

    Congratulations to Oji Paper Ice Hockey Team, the 2008 Asia League Ice Hockey champions!

    3rd place finisher in the regular season, Oji convincingly won the championship, going undefeated in the playoffs reeling off 9 straight victories. Oji let in 2 or less goals in every game but 1 (the 10-5 shootout semifinal win over High1). Goalie Haruna was outstanding throughout the playoffs, and it was no different in the deciding game as he stopped 33 of 35 Cranes shots in the 3-2 win. With a 1.89 GAA, only allowing 17 goals on 221 SOG for a very solid 92.3% save percentage, he probably deserves the finals and playoff MVPs. He outplayed McLennan in the finals, Jamie had been having an excellent playoffs up until that point with a 92% save percentage going into the finals and he had singlehandedly won games for the Cranes, but in the end Haruna was the man.

    This was the first AL championship for Oji (every final before this year featured the Cranes v. Seibu/Kokudo), and the last time Oji won the league was the Japan Ice Hockey League way back in 1994. Congrats Oji!

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, hockey, information | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »