Following their heavy defeat of 13 – 1 at the hands of South Africa on Sunday, the Irish team now faces host nation Mexico on Monday evening. The game faces off at 7:30 pm local time which is 1:30 am Irish time. Yep, that’s right, we‘ll all be up until the wee hours of Tuesday morning cheering on the boys in green.
Mexico is another team that Ireland has played several times at the Senior level, however, this will only be the second time that the two teams meet each other at the U18 level. They first played each other last year in Monterrey when Mexico came out 4 – 2 victors.
This is going to be a tough game for Ireland as Mexico looked very impressive last night when they beat Israel 7 – 3. They looked strong, fast and extremely skilful. They’ll also be very experienced in the high altitude of Mexico City meaning that they aren’t left catching their breath like the other teams. So the Irish players will need to get their legs going early and keep the shifts short and changes quick if they are to keep up.
Ireland’s game against South Africa was a tough one and it will be hard for the players to put that out of their minds but that’s exactly what they have to do. They need to forget about the result and concentrate on the positives from that game. Christopher (James) Devine played extremely well against South African but he needs more help from his defence in keeping the area in front of his net clear of players and free of loose pucks. The Irish players need to realise that they have a strong goalkeeper in net that can help them out when needed but he needs more support around him.
Going forward as individuals Ireland had some chances yesterday but the forwards need to support one another more in those situations if they want to add to Jonathan Stewardson’s goal yesterday. Rian Larkin, Conor Redmond and Stewardson all came close to doubling Ireland’s tally yesterday but with a little more support the rebounds may have been put away. However, the players are taking well to the game plan of clearing their own zone by getting the puck across the blue line but now they need to try and get across the red line and dump the puck into the offensive zone.
Understandably, the long travel and high altitude really tired the players as did the penalties but another night’s rest may help them to recover and get back their skating legs. The penalties will need to be much lower against Mexico than they were in the South African game or else the Mexican powerplay will punish the Irish team.
Mexico v Ireland can be watched live tonight on Terra TV as can all games of the 2011 IIHF World U18 Championship Division III Group B.
A live stream is being provided on http://www.terra.mx/mundialdehockey. Coverage will start shortly after 1:30 am Irish time on Tuesday morning. The video works best in Internet Explorer and it may take a few minutes after the face off to get the feed working.
COME ON THE BOYS IN GREEN!!!