Schaafsma - ECHLquote:
Nederland speelde ook te laag, zelfs voor Nederland Bquote:
Natuurlijk. Hadden nooit mogen degraderen vorig jaar in Eindhoven. Gelukkig nu weer terug waar we horen en hopen dat we volgend jaar mee kunnen doen om promotie naar Div. IA.quote:
Dutch remain unbeaten, back to Division I
The Netherlands players listen to the national anthem after winning the last game against Belgium and the tournament. Photo: FEDH
JACA, Spain – One year after being relegated from the Division I, the Netherlands are back. The Dutch team did not slip up at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group A and claimed the gold winning all five games.
Although predicted by many as clear tournament favourites, the Netherlands travelled to Spain with an inexperienced squad as many players were not available for selection due to club team commitments. The main ‘culprit’ being the Tilburg Trappers, who made the switch to the third-tier German Oberliga this season and have advanced to the league finals which start today. It automatically meaned head coach Chris Eimers could put a cross through 12 names of the team that donned the orange jersey last year.
“It was a weird built-up to this tournament,” reveals Eimers. “We didn’t know who we could select as these playoffs were ongoing. We always had a backup plan in place.” A plan that included a string of inexperienced players that had yet to make their debut in the national team.
One of them was 31-year-old forward Jasper Kick from HYS The Hague, who was obviously delighted after having received his gold medal.
Kick: “It is great to experience this. I never had expected to be called up at my age. The coach is giving me so much confidence and he knows what I am capable of for this team.”
Asked if he expects to be around next year, Kick responded honestly: “I have to be realistic and admit there’s many better forwards then me in the Netherlands, so I shouldn’t be selected if the other players are available. However, I will always be ready when I’m being called upon.”
The tournament started off well for the Dutch, claiming a 3-2 morale boosting victory over a pesky Serbian side. On the second day an upset was in the making as hosts Spain took a cheeky 2-0 lead going into the final period but the Netherlands recovered and skated away with a 3-2 win in overtime.
“A good start is vital if you want to perform well during such a short tournament,” Chris Eimers said. “It builds trust and confidence instead of having to run behind the eight ball. We didn’t convert on our power plays against Spain and had a poor second period. But we were back on our feet in the third period and played up to our standards, which eventually led us to victory.”
After a modest but rock-solid win over Iceland (3-0), the Dutch offence started to click in the final two games. Boosted by the arrival of Nardo Nagtzaam, who had just won the Slovenian championship, the Dutch steamrolled China (9-0) before being able to lock first place in the group with a convincing 6-2 win over neighbours Belgium.
Not surprisingly, the Netherlands were well presented in the individual statistics lists. Forwards Kevin Bruijsten and Julian van Lijden each had five goals while defenceman Erik Tummers was honoured the tournament’s top scorer title with a goal and eight assists. Goaltender Sjoerd Idzenga was dominant in net with a Goals Against Average of 1.28 and a save percentage of 94.83%.
“The difference between Division I and Division II is gigantic. No offence to the squad who captured gold here and of which I’m extremely proud, but we need better players to compete in Division I,” said Eimers after the game.
“I know it sounds odd having just been promoted from Division II, but I honestly believe that if the Dutch Ice Hockey Federation can create the right environment for our top hockey players to develop and practise and we can have our best players available, the Dutch can compete in the top of Division IB or perhaps even lower half of Division IA.”
Hosts Spain set a questionable record of having won a silver at every IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship tournament this year. After the U20, U18 and women’s team, also the men’s team became second-best in the group with nine points due to losing the key game against the Netherlands in overtime.
A silver medal is what Belgium would have loved to get. Having gone unbeaten during the first three games, the team looked to be threatening the Dutch for gold. A 4-1 loss against Spain on Day 4 rocked their boat and after today’s loss against their northern neighbours the Belgians had to settle for bronze.
At the other end of the table, China was relegated back to Division II Group B having gone winless in all five games while Iceland and Serbia managed to stay. The smooth-skating Asians played some decent hockey during the tournament but fell short in the end. They managed to keep Spain at bay until the last five minutes and forced Belgium to overtime. China required a win over Serbia on the final day to keep their hopes of staying up alive but they left the ice with a 3-0 loss against the Serbs who claimed the fourth place just above Iceland.
Click here for scores and statistics.
Keepte gewoon een jaar in Frankrijk en speelt al jarenlang in Div2a, als ik het voor het zeggen had bij een ploeg met een beetje geld en een vrije importplek dan wist ik het welquote: