IZMIT, Turkey – In the shadow of the Olympic Qualification, Israel won the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group B and moved up to Group A next year.
Israel didn’t send an U18 national team last year year, but opened this year’s tournament with two big wins, 16-2 win vs. Ireland and 6-1 against host Turkey.
Top-seeded entry South Africa also had a clean record after two days, posting 5-2 and 8-2 wins over Turkey and Ireland.
It all came down to one game on Sunday afternoon. In a disciplined match-up Israel didn’t have it as easy as in the previous games but Ron Vainshtein opened the scoring 27 seconds before the first intermission.
The second period was tighter and the South Africans created more scoring opportunities than before also thanks to two power plays. But the only goal of the middle frame was again scored by an Israeli and again late, when Roey Aharonovich put in the puck with 25 seconds left.
A goal from Gareth Bremner at 13:16 brought back hope for South Africa but only two minutes later Bar Zimmerman sealed the win with Israel’s 3-1 goal.
Zimmerman, from Rishon, and Yuval Rosenthal, who plays for the Banff Hockey Academy, were the best scorers of the tournament with five goals and five assists each.
Zimmerman won the Best Forward Award while Turkey’s Berk Akin was voted Best Goalkeeper, and South Africa’s Luke Stringer chosen as Best Defenceman.
South Africa finished in second place before Turkey and winless Ireland.
For Turkey hosted the championship in Izmit at the K.B.B. Ice Arena, which will soon become a a national ice hockey centre. The best attended U18 game of the home team was the Mediterranean clash against Israel that was seen by 1,155 fans.
Turkey will also host the men’s national teams of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B in Izmit end of April.
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