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    Day 2: 2008 IHWC Div I B in Sapporo

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 15日 Tuesday

    The top half teams were pitted against the bottom teams again on Monday in day 2 of the tournament, and there were no upsets, though Estonia put up a valiant effort scoring first against Ukraine and basically losing 2-1 as the 3rd goal was an empty netter. Japan shut out Croatia, but all goals were scored on the power play. 7 of Japan’s 8 goals so far in this tournament has been power play goals, makes me somewhat worried about their ability to score even strength goals. Kikuchi got the shutout for Japan, copying Haruna’s performance from the day before. I hope Haruna, whose been hot since the Asia League playoffs in February, is the main goalie, but tournament requires teams to play 5 games in 7 days, so it’s reassuring to have a competent second goalie. 

    Hungarian goals against Lithuania.

    SAPPORO, Japan – Ukraine, Hungary and Japan all got their second wins on day two of the IIHF World Championship Division I Group B in Japan.


    Japan – Croatia 3-0 (1-0, 0-0, 2-0)

    The hosting team not only has two wins in two games, but they have played 120 minutes of hockey without conceding a goal. And Japan has used both their goalies in the process. Masahito Haruna was in goal on opening day against Lithuania, while Naoya Kikuchi had the shut-out against Croatia.

    The Croatians played much better than in the 4-0 opening day loss against Ukraine, but they simply can’t find the net. The team is scoreless after two days of action in Sapporo.

    Japan took full advantage of Croatian penalties and all three goals were scored in power-play. Darcy Mitani got the only marker of the first period, while Daisuke Obara and Takahito Suzuki provided the third-period goals.

    Full of confidence, Japan is now heading towards the key game against Hungary on Thursday. Croatia plays Estonia on the same day. All teams are idle on Wednesday.


    Hungary – Lithuania 6-0 (2-0, 2-0, 2-0)

    Hungary got their second win in as many days, by cruising past hapless and undisciplined Lithuania. The Hungarians scored four power-play goals and a fifth came on a penalty-shot, well executed by Csaba Kovacs. Gabor Ocskay had two goals, his second was the only goal of the game which came with the teams skating five on five. Lithuania took 30 penalty minutes including a 10-minute misconduct penalty, their second such offence in two days.

    Ukraine – Estonia 3-1 (0-0, 2-1, 1-0)

    Gold favourite Ukraine remains undefeated in the IIHF World Championship Division I Group B in Japan. The Ukrainians dominated Estonia but sealed their 3-1 win just in the last minute.

    Netminder Aleksei Terentjev was Estonia’s best player especially when the Ukrainians were outshooting their opponent 19-6 in the first period. Ukraine dominated the first eight minutes while Estonia started to create offensive danger afterwards.

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, 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 »

    Japanese National Team Final Roster

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 13日 Sunday

    The final 23-man roster for the Japanese National Team (Pos, Name, Club Team) for the 2008 Ice Hockey World Championships Division I Group B in Sapporo, Japan (13-19 April):


    GK 1  Haruna (Oji)

    GK 29  Kikuchi (Seibu)

    GK 30  Ishikawa (Cranes)


    DF 2  Tonosaki, Jun (Cranes)

    DF 4  Keller (Oji)

    DF 5  Miyauchi (Seibu)

    DF 6  Haga (Toyo Univ)

    DF 23  Osawa (Cranes)

    DF 24  Kawai (Seibu)

    DF 27  Yanadori (Meiji Univ)


    FW 7  Domeki (Oji)

    FW 8  Kon (Seibu)

    FW 9  Sato (Seibu)

    FW 10  Kamino (Seibu)

    FW 11  Nishiwaki (Dayton Bombers)

    FW 13  Ogawa (Oji)

    FW 14  Tanaka (Seibu)

    FW 16  Obara (Seibu)

    FW 17  Iimura (Cranes)

    FW 18  Suzuki (Seibu)

    FW 19  Saito, Takeshi (Oji)

    The two university defensemen made the roster, they will be interesting to watch as they represent a future of Japanese hockey.

    ECHL Dayton’s Nishiwaki is on the team, I’m interested in seeing how his play style changed after a year in NA.

    Haruna should be the starting goalie, having the hot hand in the AL playoffs winning all 9 games to the championship and also in NT training camp and training matches. (He’s also my sentimental favourite, having been a long time Nikko IceBuck, singlehandedly keeping the team in too many games where they didn’t deserve, until he moved to Oji and finally captured a well deserved championship this year.)

    Obara’s been playing great in the NT training and practice matches against Amur Khavarovsk. He should be a player to watch.

    Cranes had a poor year, and that’s represented in the final roster of the NT.

    Despite Ukraine’s presence, this is Japan’s best chance for promotion with the first home tournament in 25 years! Go Japan!

    Puck drops now for the first game of the tournament!!

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

    Japan vs Amur Khavarovsk

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 6日 Sunday

    Game details of the Japanese national team’s 2 warm up matches against Amur Khavarovsk (this team sent its 3rd team Golden Amur into the Asia League a few seasons ago, and has been playing practices matches against various Japanese teams in the years since then, hopefully they’ll make a return to the Asia League in the near future. The continued relationship with Japanese hockey is promising.)


    Game 1 (Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan) 1 April 2008

    Japan 4(3-3、1-1、0-0)4 Amur

    01:48 JPN 1-0 (G)Obara (A)Tanaka (A)Okubo (PPG)
    04:08 AMU 1-1 (G)36 (A)21 (PPG)
    04:31 JPN 2-1 (G)Suzuki (A)Sato (A)Mitani
    08:22 AMU 2-2 (G)9 (A)5 (A)2
    16:06 AMU 3-2 (G)10 (A)37 (A)5 (PPG+2)
    19:37 JPN 3-3 (G)Yamashita (A)Okubo (A)Obara (PPG)

    04:29 JPN 4-3 (G)Suzuki
    13:48 AMU 4-4 (G)35 (A)77 (A)10 (PPG)

    Shoot Out
    Japan 1(○-×、×-×、×-×)0 Amur
    1:Tanaka ○
    2:Kuji ×

    1st Kuji 〜 Kon 〜 Takeshi Saito 〜 Jun Tonosaki 〜 Osawa
    2nd Sato 〜 Mitani 〜 Suzuki 〜 Keller 〜 Haga
    3rd Kei Tonosaki 〜 Obara 〜 Domeki 〜 Miyauchi 〜 Yamashita
    4th Kamino 〜 Go Tanaka 〜 Ogawa / Iimura 〜 Okubo 〜 Kawai

    GK Kikuchi 4 GA (60:00)

    Game MVP
    Yamashita (Oji)


    Game 2 (Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan) 3 April 2008

    Japan 2(0-0、1-1、1-0)1 Amur

    0:46 JPN 1-0 (G)Obara (A1)Iimura (A2)Keller (PPG+2)
    1:52 AMU 1-1 (G) 9 (A1)24
    3:28 JPN 2-1 (G)Obara (A1)Takeshi Saito (A2)Osawa (PPG)

    Japan 24-19 Amur

    Japan 8-9 Amur

    Shoot Out Exhibition
    Japan 1(○-×、×-○、×-×)1 Amur
    1:Takeshi Saito

    1st Kamino 〜 Go Tanaka 〜 Ogawa 〜 Kawai 〜 Yanadori
    2nd Domeki 〜 Kon 〜 Takeshi Saito 〜 Jun Tonosaki 〜 Osawa
    3rd Kei Tonosaki 〜 Okuyama 〜 Uchiyama 〜 Keller 〜 Haga
    4th Sato 〜 Obara / Iimura 〜 Kuji 〜 Okubo 〜 Yamashita

    GK Haruna (Oji)  GA 1 (60:00)

    Game MVP
    Obara (SEIBU)

    It turns out all 3 university players, Haga, Kuji, and Yanadori
    got a look in the 2 test matches against Amur, turns out I didn’t look
    carefully enough on my blog post earlier (doh!) They look to be promising
    young players.

    Obara is hot, and Haruna continued to look strong in goal, after winning 9 straight AL playoff games (only allowing more than 2 goals once) leading Oji to the championship and will probably be Japan’s main goalie in the tournament as Fukufuji (who became the first Japanese NHLer last season) is tied up in the ECHL playoffs with the Bakersfield Condors during IHWC.

    I have no clue what calibre of players Amur brought over for these games because names were not given in the game reports (what?) But probably they’re probably similar to the Golden Amur players (young player and over the hill veterans that participated in the AL a few seasons ago for Amur’s 3rd team).

    Japanese national team currently has 30 players in camp, and the roster will get pared down to its proper roster for the IIHF World Championship in Sapporo which starts on the 13th.

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

    IHWC Div I 2008: Japan NT preparations

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 5日 Saturday

    The Japanese national team has been preparing to host the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I tournament at Sapporo in the northern island of Hokkaido, Japan. The games will run 13 – 19 April against Ukraine, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Croatia.Since the end of the Asia League season, the national team has been in training in Hokkaido and has recently played 2 practice matches against Amur of Khavarovsk (an RSL team, but no idea what kind of roster the team brought over, as the box scores only indicate uniform numbers and no names).

    Game 1 ended in a 4-4 tie. All goals were scored by the 34th minute in a flurry of a first half. One of the two remaining university players, standout defenseman Haga was used in the 2nd pairing with Aaron Keller. And High1 defenseman Okubo was used in the 4th pairing, but successfully quarterbacked the power play and assisted on 2 PPGs. Kikuchi (Seibu) allowed 4 goals, though the number of shots was not recorded.

    Japan eked out a 2-1 win in game 2 against an Amur squad that was fresher after a day of rest. Obara (Seibu) scored both goals on the power play this game, and combined with his 2 PP points (1G + 1A) in game 1 and has been playing great. Haruna (Oji) continued his hot play from the AL playoffs where he reeled off 9 straight victories (only allowing more than 2 goals in a single game), as he only let in 1 of the 19 shots he faced. Haruna has the hot hand and the original Japanese NHLer Fukufuji will be tied up in the ECHL playoffs with the Bakersfield Condors, so the Oji veteran should be the starting goalie in the upcoming tournament. AL’s top scorer in recent seasons Nishiwaki who is playing with the Dayton Bombers this season, and if his team loses in the first round of the playoffs (a best of 3 play in series), then he’ll be able to squeak into Sapporo for the start of the tournament.

    JIHL/ALIH and Japanese national team veteran Ryan Kiyoshi Fujita, who always plays way above his size, was nowhere to be seen over the Amur games although he’s listed on the long list of players in training camp. It’s unknown whether he was dropped because of injury, fitness, or team plans. 

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

    Information for visitors to Sapporo Tsukisamu Arena

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 21日 Friday

    Some information about the Tsukisamu Arena in Sapporo, Japan where the 2008 IIHF World Championship Division I Group B games will be held.

    Chances are your mobile phone won’t work in Japan because Japan uses a proprietory cell system. Even overseas 3G phones won’t work just by inserting Japanese SIM cards (though things may have changed recently, so check with your local carrier). Very inconvenient for visitors, I know.

    Tsukisamu Arena has a capacity of about 3000 (this year’s AL games drew close to 2900).

    Here are some pictures of the arena:



    I recommend staying in the Susukino area of Sapporo, as that’s where the nightlife is, and it’s only 4 metro stops away from the Tsukisamu-Chuo station where the arena is situated (a 3 minute walk) on the Toho metro line.


    All weekday Japan games are scheduled at 8pm, so I expect a good crowd for those games (not sure about preordering tickets). But I don’t expect much of a crowd for the other games, as Sapporo’s not a hockey town (there are some nice mountains nearby, so skiing and snowboarding are more popular) and Japanese people tend not to take many holidays.

    For the Japan team preview, most of my Asia League summary is here already:

    If I have the time I’ll try to do a Team Japan preview once the roster’s announced.

    Posted in 02_English, culture, food, hockey, information, International, Japan | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

    2008 IHWC Div I Group B in Sapporo

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 18日 Tuesday

    It’s amazing that this all East European (except for Japan) tournament is being held in Japan at all. I wonder what went down in the host city nomination and the subsequent voting process.

    The tournament will run from 13-19 April at Tsukisamu Arena in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan and the other participating teams are Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, and Hungary.

    This is Japan’s best chance to win the dvision and qualify for the top group, playing in front of the home crowd, and having ECHL regulars G Fukufuji (unimpressive .891 save percentage this season, but he’s on one of the worst teams in the league so all goalies at Bakersfield are sporting a sub-.900 mark after posting better numbers in previous seasons) and F Nishiwaki (14+16=30 pts in 54 games so far, but was one of the leading goal scorers in the AL the two previous seasons) on the national team with their ECHL clubs slated to miss the playoffs. ECHL season runs to the first week of April, so these two will be able to join the national team for this Div I tournament at home that’ll run from 13-19 April. Oji goalie Haruna has been having a fantastic AL playoffs, posting 1.88 GAA and .924 save % so far in 8 games, and he’s had some success in international tournies if my memory’s correct. And Seibu’s Kikuchi, who is always solid in Asia, is also available, so Japan should be solid in goal, hopefully the porous defense from last year’s tournament has somehow been improved, but I don’t see how.

    Other interesting candidates remaining on the Japan team selection squad (down to 30 now, but there will be further cuts before the start of the tournament to get down to regulation size) are D Okubo playing for High1 of the Korean entry to the AL, he totally drove their offense this past season, and led AL defensemen in assists and points. University kids D Haga of university champs Toyo University (who scored a hat trick in the university championship finals), D Yanatori of finalist Meiji Univ., and F Kuji of Waseda University are also included in the selection camp. Other players are the usual suspects from AL teams including naturalized Canadian born veteran players (all Japanese descent Nikkeis) D Aaron Keller (Oji), F Ryan Kiyoshi Fujita (Seibu), and F Darcy Mitani (Cranes).

    Interestingly, the national team will play two warm up games again Amur Khavarovsk (the B team, I assume). 1 April at Tomakomai Hakucho Arena, and 3 April at Sapporo Tsukisamu Areana, both games start at 19:00.

    The 30 man selection camp squad (in Japanese).

    IIHF website for this tournament.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in 02_English, Asia League Ice Hockey, ECHL, hockey, information, International, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »