NEW PLYMOUTH, New Zealand – New Zealand will be back at the IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship next year for the first time since being relegated 2012 and will compete in the Division I competition during the 2017 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship that will take place in summer next year in the Slovak capital of Bratislava.
This season three qualifiers from three different world regions are to be determined for the last three spots in the 2017 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship and after Brazil it was New Zealand which can book their tickets to Bratislava after winning the 2016 IIHF Inline Hockey Qualification Asia/Oceania on home soil in New Plymouth. They will join Australia as the other team from the region.
In the four-team tournament it all came down to the last game between Japan, which was relegated last year, and the hosts. Both teams faced little trouble on the first two days with wins against Chinese Taipei, which finished in third place, and winless India, which was heavily outplayed in all three games in its inline hockey debut.
Ben Thompson opened the scoring against Japan at 6:10 but one minute later Shuntaro Tsuchimoto tied it up for Japan and 59 seconds into the second period Daisuke Ohto even brought Japan the lead.
The game was decided in the hosts’ favour in the third period with unanswered goals from Alex Novak, Paul Jameson and Tim Craig. Julian Beardman extended the lead to 5-2 midway through the third period.
The Japanese tried to react but only scored with 2:41 left in regulation time and the goalie pulled for the final score of 5-3 for New Zealand.
The third qualifier will be determined in a European qualification with Austria, Latvia, Belgium, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Israel, Turkey, Serbia and Ireland. The dates and venue will be announced later. Click here for box scores.