In a must win game for Ireland yesterday, our Boys in Green were able to get the job done and beat Mongolia in a high-scoring affair, final score: 8-4 for Ireland.
This win keeps Ireland in the running for a medal when they take on DPR Korea tomorrow, Saturday.
The Irish outshot the Mongolians, 50-15 and won every period. Another standout performance from Gareth Roberts, who had 7 total points on the night, 3 goals and 4 assists. Gareth Martin, Alternate Captain, also put in a strong performance with 2 goals and an assist. Adam Pepper got the win in nets.
In the first period Ireland scored just 3 minutes into the game while shorthanded, with the goal coming from Gareth Roberts. Just 1 minute and 14 seconds later at 4:14 of the game, one of the youngest players on the team, Phil Catherwood scored for Ireland, assist from Adam Patience. Great to see our younger lads contributing! The first period ended 2 nil for Ireland, with our boys serving 8 minutes in penalties.
The second period gave fans a bit of a scare when the Mongolians brought the game within 1 when they scored at 29:26 of the game, goal from Neguun Ganbat. However, in typical Fightin’ Irish fashion, Ireland answered right away, when Gareth Martin scored at 30:14 of the game, making the score 3:1 for Ireland (assists from Adam Jackson-Wyatt and Gareth Roberts). As the second period wore on, the Mongolians took several penalties and Ireland was eventually able to capitalize on a 5-on-3 powerplay, putting them up 4:1. Goal from Stevie Adams, assist from Gareth Roberts.
Although heading into the final period with a comfortable lead, the 3rd was anything but comfortable and turned into a goal-scoring frenzy! Gareth Martin scored quickly to make it 5:1 just 16 seconds into the period (assist from Gareth Roberts). But nearly 5 minutes later Mongolia proved they weren’t done playing and scored to make it 5:2 Ireland. Mongolian goal from Mishigsuren Namjil while on a powerplay.
A few minutes later Ireland scored their sixth goal. This time from Stevie Hamill, assists from Gareth Martin and Gareth Roberts. This power-line wasn’t done yet. At 49:05 of the game Gareth Roberts scored Ireland’s 7th goal (assisted by Stevie Hamill). Ireland 7, Mongolia 2.
At 45:09 of the match Mongolia put home their 3rd goal. This one came from Batzaya Purevdorj. Then things got even more interesting when the Mongolians were awarded a penalty shot on a tripping call against Irish defender Niall McEvoy. Gan-Ochir Tseveen was able to capitalize on this opportunity and bring the Mongolians within 3 goals with several minutes left in the game.
Although still leading with some cushion, it was clear anything was possible in this game and the Mongolians were definitely not going to quit! Realizing the need for calm, Ireland took a time out.
In the end, Ireland got the leadership we expect from our veterans. Gareth Roberts buried his 3rd of the game at 59:59, his second hat-trick of the tournament, and showed that the Mongolians might never quit, but neither do the Irish!
Man of the Match for Ireland was awarded to Gareth Roberts for the second time this week. Roberts, who signed a contract with professional ice hockey team, the Belfast Giants last season, has played exceptionally well.
Although Ireland had probably hoped for tighter and more disciplined play we commend our lads for not letting any adversity take their eyes off the prize. Sometimes in hockey, things don’t go your way and games aren’t pretty.
However, we got the job done and our scoring ability and confidence is exactly what we need when facing the North Koreans in our last match.
Meanwhile, the youngest player of the team, Conor Redmond suffered a minor injury, after he strained the ligaments in his ankle. We wish Conor a speedy recovery.
Also, Gareth Robert’s sits firmly at the top of the tournaments scoring leaders, having secured 14 points, while sitting second is Luxembourg’s Robert Beran. Meanwhile Gareth Martin is the top face-off leader & defence men scoring leader in the tournament.
Speaking from Turkey today, Ireland’s Head Coach, Mr. Kenny Redmond said ‘We went from being great and losing against Turkey, to winning against Mongolia while playing very poorly. We have to realise that we must turn up with the right attitude to play our best in every game. However, the win keeps us in with a shout of a medal. If Turkey beat Luxembourg, we need to win against DPR Korea by 3 goals, but if Luxembourg beat Turkey, we just need a win against DPR Korea’.
Commenting on Gareth Robert’s performance, Kenny said ‘Gareth Roberts has led the team by example, scoring goals, assists and minimal penalties’.
Asked about tomorrow’s tough game against DPR Korea, Kenny said ‘We are tired due to lack of ice at home, it’s been a tough week for our guys but we are ready to battle. It’s all or nothing. We just need to know what we have to achieve before our game starts and we can start our plan’.
Ireland takes on DPR Korea tomorrow at 7pm Irish time in the final game of the 2012 IIHF World Championship Division III in Erzurum, Turkey.
It will be a tough game for the Irish side, but this tournament has turned out to be one of the most unpredictable championships ever. Nobody expected Mongolia to ice such a strong team, Ireland came so close to causing a huge upset against hosts Turkey on home ice, while Luxembourg has been very unstable. Ireland have turned up and played exceptionally well for the limited ice time available to the team and have delivered in hard fought games.
Who knows what can happen on any given day. Positive thinking is the first step. If you stop dreaming, you stop living.
Everyone at the IIHA and fans at home wishes the team the best of luck ahead of tomorrows match.
So everyone, get together and support TeamIreland in their biggest match of the tournament coming up on Saturday night at 7pm Irish time.
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.