Luxembourg’s U18 national team yesterday suffered a 4-1 loss in the opening game of the Ice Hockey World Championship tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.
Both the Luxembourg and rival Hong Kong teams started the game rather nervously. Whilst Luxembourg had some chances to score with their strong skating, Hong Kong were equally strong in their counter attacks. Mostly thanks to Hugo Ansay, who boasted 18 saves for Luxembourg, the first half of the game ended 0-0 after 20 minutes.
In the second period, the Luxembourg team took some penalties, during which Hong Kong managed to score once- although Luxembourg blocked another two of them. The puck was arguably in the net already beforehand, but the referee ruled it out after a premature whistle.
In the last minute of the period, the Lions’ assistant captain David Church carried the puck into the zone with strong skating. He rushed towards the net and zipped the puck into the top corner, resulting in a draw of 1-1 after 40 minutes.
However, Hong Kong went on to improve their puck control and managed to score three unanswered goals. Puck possession as a team was the key in this game and whilst Luxembourg had strong skaters, Hong Kong showed the value of good passing game.
In the next game on Wednesday, the Lions will meet Chinese Taipei. The team was relegated last year from the higher division and according to what was seen in the practice, they will be an even faster and physically stronger team than Hong Kong. This means that Team Luxembourg needs to show good team defence on the fore-check, but also in front of their own net. The game starts at 14:00 and will also be live-streamed. The link will appear to www.icehockey.lu before the game.