Chinese juniors promoted

U18 team wins in Taipei City

27.03.2017
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Tough to stop: Chinese Taipei player Chia-Yen Chung follows the tournament’s top scorer Qianyi Huang of China. Photo: Igotshot

TAIPEI CITY – A few weeks ago China lost the Division III final in the U20 category to Turkey missing out on promotion. The U18 national team took revenge and beat Turkey 11-1 today to end the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group A undefeated and earn promotion.

The top-seeded Chinese were hard to stop en route to earning promotion back the Division II. They opened the tournament with a 6-0 blanking of Bulgaria, then beat Israel 3-0 the day after.

In their third game in Taipei City they beat Chinese Taipei 4-0 in a game between political rivals that was overshadowed by several players of the Chinese team starting fights at the end of the game. Jing Wang and Ziqiao Wang were assessed suspensions following that game but China beat New Zealand 12-0 without them.

Turkey’s Nabi Mutanolu became the only player to score a goal in five games against China when he opened the scoring today but the lead only lasted two minutes as China found back into the game and won 11-1. Before the game both Mingwei Ren and Yuhang Zhang were undefeated for 243 minutes combining for 99 saves in four games.

The Chinese players dominated the scoring race, in particular Qianyi Huang, who scored 13 goals and had seven assists in five games in the second U18 tournament for the player from Harbin who also participated in two U20 World Championship tournaments despite being just 17 years old.

Earning promotion was important for the team coached by Alexander Barkov, a former Soviet national team player and father of Finnish NHLer Aleksander Barkov who took over the U18 and U20 national teams just a few months ago.

Several players of the team could be on the senior national team in 2022 when the Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing and for this event the Chinese aim at raising their hockey standard. Next season the Chinese U18 national team will compete in the Division II Group B where it played the past three seasons and where they will meet Spain, Serbia, the Netherlands, Iceland and the team that will be relegated from the Division II Group A.

Host Chinese Taipei surprised on home ice with three wins in four games and will earn its first medal since 2014 tonight same as Israel. The two teams, who both had strong goaltending from Sheng-Chun Huang and Yehonatan Reisinger respectively, will determine the colours of their medals when they play each other tonight.

Click here for scores and statistics.

MARTIN MERK

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