Team Ireland secured at least a silver medal with a polished performance against a tough Greek outfit that fought to the last blow of the whistle to take something from the contest.
In the opening period, Ireland made it tough on themselves by drawing five of the six penalties issued however the Greek team’s infraction was a five minute major sin bin trip plus a game misconduct to Nikos Chatzigiannis.
The Greeks score the only goal of the period in this bitterly contested encounter through Dimitrios Kalyvas on a powerplay effort. Playing more possession hockey in the middle period, veteran Irish forward Stevie Hamill tied the game at 1-1 four minutes into the second period, opening the contest up nicely.
Mark Morrison was again Team Ireland’s hero scoring the winning goal plus a short-handed effort to put the game out of the oppositions reach.
Kevin Kelly played another strong game in the Irish nets, as did the rest of the squad to secure their second win on the trot. They have a day off tomorrow before taking on the real outsiders UAE whom no one seems to know much about.
Dean Kelly received the “Man of the Match” award for the Irish and talking to GM Tony Griffin after the game where he stated.” The first period was another learning curve for the Irish Team.
“Unfortunately we gave the officials little option in the penalties he called on the squad. We have to learn to be more disciplined. I thought we needed a goal after losing the opening period 1-0.
“Stevie Hamill gave us that springboard followed by two goals from Mark Morrison. We were flying by the end of the second period. They were an older team and just couldn’t match our pace in the final period hence the 3-1 result”, Stated Griffin.
Lets hope the Irish squad does well in their last match of the tournament and don’t fall foul of the travelling volcanic ash dust storm that has ground Team GB’s aircraft making it necessary to take a 26-hour bus trip to Slovenia for Saturday’s opening game.
A win against UAE means Gold for Ireland and that doesn’t happen often in the sport of ice hockey.
Final Score: Greece 1 – 3 Ireland (1 – 0, 0 – 3, 0 – 0)
SOG: 15 – 38 (4 – 10, 3 – 14, 8 – 14)
PIM: 37 – 30 (25 – 10, 8 – 8, 4 – 12)
Goals: (25:00 – S. Hamill, M. Morrison, T. O’Driscoll), (32:35 – M. Morrison, S. Ewen, G. Martin), (36:26 – M. Morrison, S. Hamill)
Saves: K. Kelly (14/15) – N. Ploutsis (35/38)
Ireland’s Man of the Match: Dean Kelly