Ireland played Iceland in its third game of the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship Division III group B in Mexico City, Mexico on Wednesday evening.
It was always expected to be the toughest game of the week but it proved to be a harder game than originally expected. Ireland played the game short benched unfortunately. Four players were unable to dress for the game due to injuries sustained either in the previous game or since then.
Both Padraig Tuite and Patrick Anderson were injured while playing Mexico on Monday and have been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament. This was a huge loss to the team for this game against Iceland but it will also be a huge loss for the final game against Israel on Friday. Each player has played a huge role on the defence so far and we wish them a speedy recovery and hope to see them back on the ice soon. I am sure that both players are doing their best to keep spirits high in the dressing room as they are both two of the more vocal players on the team.
Meanwhile, both Conor Redmond and Adam Chaney were ruled out of this game as they struggled to cope with the high altitude of Mexico City and they were not permitted to play for safety reasons. Again, we wish both players a speedy recovery and hope that they can take part in Ireland’s final game against Israel on Friday.
As can be expected when playing short benched, the game was extremely tough but the players did their best right until the end. Iceland came out all guns blazing in the first period and scored twelve unanswered goals. Ireland played defensively and did their best to clear the zone and get the puck deep into the offensive zone. Unfortunately, Iceland still dominated. Both Christopher (James) Devine and Dylan Wilkins had ice time in the first period but neither goalkeeper was able to prevent the onslaught from continuing. They did their best by stopping a total of twenty two shots between them.
The second period started a little but slower with Ireland gaining a bit more time on the puck but the fact that they were down to two lines due to injuries meant they could do little but clear the zone and dump the puck deep. Iceland scored another five goals in this period. Again, both Devine and Wilkins shared the net and stopped a combined twelve shots between them. Wilkins made some impressive stops for his first tournament away with an Irish team. The third period saw much of the same as Iceland again scored five goals. Devine made some extremely impressive saves in the final period but he was understandably tired from the first two games.
The final score of the game was 22 – 0 in favour of Iceland. The results have not gone as one may have hope but this group of young players supported by their coaching staff are all doing themselves and Ireland proud. We all hope they have an enjoyable day off for St. Patrick’s Day on Thursday and look forward to supporting them on Friday when they play Israel in their final game of the tournament.
Special congratulations go out to Darren Sisk who was selected as Ireland’s best player. This is Darren’s first tournament with Ireland and he originally hails from Cork. Darren has been travelling to Belfast from Cork on a regular basis for several months now in preparation for the tournament.
Final Score: Iceland 22 – 0 Ireland (12 – 0, 5 – 0, 5 – 0)
SOG: 64 – 4 (34 – 2, 12 – 1, 18 – 1)
PIM: 0 – 8 (0 – 2, 0 – 2, 0 – 4)
Saves: C. Devine (27/39), D. Wilkins (15/25) – E. Eyland (2/2), B. Orrason (2/2)