TAIPEI CITY – The Chinese U18 national team gets back to Division II after winning the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division III Group A that was held in Chinese Taipei.
It was a successful trip over the Taiwan Strait for the team coached by Japanese Keisuke Araki with players coming from the northern hockey cities of Harbin and Qiqihar and from Beijing.
The Chinese blanked Mexico (6-0), Bulgaria (14-0) and Chinese Taipei (8-0) before facing New Zealand in the deciding game for promotion.
The Kiwis also entered the deciding game with a clean record and after four minutes of play Frazer Ellis became the first player to defeat Chinese goalkeeper Zehao Sun.
After losing the first period, the Chinese came back in a big way with five goals in 13 minutes in the middle frame. Ziyang Zhu tied the score at one on a power play at 2:01 and less than three minutes later Tianyou Zuo scored the lead. At 9:12 Zesen Zhang made it a two-goal lead for China before Yongshen Liu and Hengnan Lu added two more unanswered markers 45 seconds apart from one other.
New Zealand became stronger towards the end of the game. Keegan Maisey and Joshua Louw cut the lead to 5-3. The New Zealanders had chances to come as close as to one goal during two power plays, but after Richard Dawson missed on a penalty shot with six minutes left to play Hang Li sealed the win with the 6-3 goal into the empty net at 18:26 of the third period.
New Zealand had to settle for silver after winning the other games against Chinese Taipei (9-4), Mexico (2-0) and Bulgaria (6-2).
Chinese Taipei improved by two places compared to last year and claimed the bronze medals on home ice where they played before up to 700 fans at the Annex Ice Rink in Taipei City. The team had a 2-2 record and managed go get past Bulgaria (9-2) and Mexico (3-0).
Bulgaria finished in fourth place after defeating Mexico 4-3 on the last day in a game of the two winless teams.Click here for scores, stats and photos.Final Ranking:
1. China 12
2. New Zealand 9
3. Chinese Taipei 6
4. Bulgaria 3
5. Mexico 0Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goalkeeper: Zehao Sun, China
Best Defenceman: Ching Kuan, Chinese Taipei
Best Forward: Peng Ji, China