We were all expecting quite a show for the Ireland versus Turkey match…but perhaps no one anticipated how capable the Boys in Green really were of challenging the Turks on their home ice. In a hard-fought, evenly matched battle, Team Ireland showed they are very capable of competing with the Turkish side. Unfortunately, the Irish lost by a score of 5-3, but with every stride and with every refresh of the score sheet here at home, it was clear Ireland were not going down without a fight.
The first period seemed quiet enough with each team only having a few minutes in penalties awarded against them. The Turks scored on their powerplay at 17:37 of the first to make it 1 nil. The goal came from Serdar Semiz, assisted by Galip Hamarat. The first period ended with this score, shots 9-8 in favour of Turkey.
Things started off perfectly for the Irish in the second as Gareth Roberts began his relentless scoring streak against the Turks at 21:08 of the game, burying the puck on the powerplay, assisted by game star versus Greece, Stevie Adams. The score stayed 1-1 for most of the second period, until Turkey were able to dig out a shorthanded goal at 37:01 of the match from Yusuf Halil, assist from alternate Captain Gokturk Hasdemir. Ireland did not falter after this mistake. A mere 30 seconds later Gareth Roberts answered the Turks and scored on the powerplay, assists from Dean Kelly and Gareth Martin. 2-2. But nope, that’s right, Roberts wasn’t don’t yet. At 39:05 of the game he scored another goal for Ireland, putting them up 3-2.
Of course, the Turks are not to be taken for fools! Home ice, home crowd! They were not going to sit back and just take it. They answered with just 5 seconds left in the second period, making the score 3-3 heading into the 3rd. Turkish goal from Serkan Gumus, assists from Alper Solak and Gurkan Cetinkaya.
Onto the 3rd. Things were eerily quiet at the start of this period. The minutes ticked by and nothing! Nothing at all! To our surprise not even a penalty for over ten minutes. Things soon picked up. Turkey really turned on the heat and scored 2 quick goals at 53:26 and 54:47 of the game. Turkey’s fourth goal came from Gokturk Hasdemir (assisted by Emrah Ozmen and Serdar Semiz) and the fifth from Savas Hakturk (assisted by Serkan Gumus). With only 5 minutes left, Ireland needed two quick goals. It appears we did everything we could, even pulling Goalie Scott Bickerstaff for an extra attacker. Ireland called a timeout at 56:46.
Then, with less than 2 minutes to play, Turkey took a penalty for Tripping. The chance for a miracle was there, but unfortunately, time ran out on the boys in green. A heartbreaker to say the least. Final score, 5-3 for Turkey. They outshot Ireland by a small margin of 29-26. The hat trick from forward Gareth Roberts earned him the well-deserved Man of the Match. Hats off to Gareth! He is number 24 on the score sheet, but quickly becoming number 1 in our hearts!
Speaking from Turkey today, Ireland Head Coach, Kenny Redmond said ‘I’m really proud of our team, we played with alot of heart and great positional discipline. For me, we were the better team. We had chances to win the game but, they got the breaks to score. We scored 2 powerplay goals and yes we conceded shorthand goals, but we’ve a shortage of experienced guys and we’ll keep building as a team and remain positive and well do well. But overall we’ve achieved alot in the week we’ve been together and we need to stay positive and build on this performance. We’ve got alot better’.
Ireland takes on Mongolia tomorrow and Coach Redmond seems optimistic about the game. ‘It was a great performance today, we were just unfortunate but we can regroup and fine tune some plays in training and well be ready for tomorrow’.
Asked if Ireland could snatch a medal, Kenny said ‘Now we have to depend on other results but were really upbeat’.
Kenny had high praise for hat-trick scorer Gareth Roberts. ‘Gareth Robert has played great all tournament and has lead by example, he was unlucky not to score more today’.
Having informed Kenny about the expected opening of the Santy Ice Rink soon & the solid performances of Scott Bickerstaff & Adam Pepper in nets for Ireland this week, Redmond said ‘Both of these guys are young and are getting better. If we can have guys playing more games in structured leagues we have a bright future’.
William Fay, President of the Irish Ice Hockey Association, today said ‘The team did Ireland and the IIHA very proud today. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the game but the game stats don’t lie and told a story of an Irish team battling all the way to the end. I must say that Head Coach Kenny Redmond showed some world class coaching decisions according to the IIHF game stats when his team was still fighting to get points and something from the game.
‘His quick thinking with only minutes to go in the 3rd period when Ireland got a run of power plays, to call a time out to instruct his players on what play he wanted and pull the goalie to get an extra attacker on the ice is King Kenny, as I call him, at his very best.
‘All the players and team staff are to be commended on such a hard fought effort and congratulations goes to Gareth Roberts for scoring a ‘hatrick’, as I said I’m very proud of the whole team and on behalf of everyone here at home, we are all cheering Team Ireland on’ added William.
Although we can’t even imagine how hard it is to pick yourself up after a near upset of the hosts, we hope Team Ireland realize how great they were today as individuals and most importantly, as a team.
They have two huge games left in this tournament, and we believe with continued hard work and perseverance they have the ability to win both games.
So, go get em boys! We’re behind you and we believe in you!
Follow the live scores for all matches on www.iihf.com. Men’s Division III. Statistics are available at http://www.iihf.com/channels1112/wm-iii/statistics.html. Also catch us on twitter: @IIHA & @IIHFScores, #TeamIreland and the IIHA’s FaceBook page.
Get Behind The Team – Come On The Boys In Green !