South Africa won the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division III Qualification on home ice in Cape Town after beating Chinese Taipei in two tight games.
After the withdrawal of Turkmenistan the tournament was played as a best-of-three series. Chinese Taipei was the top-seeded team after having beaten South Africa 7-1 last year but the South Africans made perfect use of their home-ice advantage as the tournament host.
In the first game South Africa outshot Chinese Taipei 29-22 and Sky Johnson scored the only goal on a power play at 8:47 of the second period while Ryan Boyd earned a shutout as both goalies were named the best players of the game.
Johnson was the only player to score two goals and collect three points in the tournament.
The second game offered more scoring chances and more goals. And for most of the time South Africa was ahead. James Taljaard opened the scoring at 1:50 but Kuan-Yu Lin converted the first power play of the game to tie it up.
The South Africans took the lead again with a Reinhard Venter goal at 13:07 but 72 seconds later it was again Lin, who scored for Chinese Taipei on a man advantage. And with the next power play Wei Chiang gave Chinese Taipei a 3-2 first-period lead.
South Africa found back in the game with two unanswered goals in the middle frame. At 2:31 Johnson scored the first power-play goal for the South Africans. Two minutes later Yu-Hong Kuo was again sent to the penalty box and Delano Schuurman regained the lead – 4-3 for South Africa.
The goal was followed by ill-disciplined action from both teams with 12 penalties assessed within just over 12 minutes.
Chinese Taipei made use of late penalties against South Africa when Wei Chiang scored on a 5-on-3 53 seconds in the third period to tie the game at four.
With the score tied the teams focused more on their skills, improved discipline and defence. Eventually it was South Africa that got the next lead and Gareth Bremner’s 5-4 marker stayed as the last goal to win the series 2-0.
The third game was not played as part of the competition anymore after South Africa’s two wins but the teams decided to play it as an exhibition game and Chinese Taipei got its first win, 6-4. Click here for scores and stats.