Greetings from Tomakomai, where the GB Team are currently taking part in the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships, Pool-B.
Yesterdays defeat at the hands of the Czechs is history now, and the team are looking to the remainder of the games. Unfortunately the team have lost Scotty Turner for the remainder of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Matt Woollias also picked up an injury on Tuesday but did take part in today’s game against Japan.
This mornings practice saw the team on the ice for 50 minutes where we worked on 2-on-1 breakaway coverage as well as penalty killing and playing in the defensive box formation. (at this point, people who I have coached before will be smiling to themselves remembering being in games with me shouting BOX!! from the bench)
This afternoon we faced Japan in a game delayed by 30 minutes after a sheet of Plexi was smashed in the Czech v Slovakia game. It wasn’t a puck that smashed the Plexi but a Slovakian D-Mans stick, thrown in anger when they conceded their 2nd goal.
Our game saw us play a lot better than yesterday. The team marked their players which frustrated the Japanese as they weren’t given the space they are used to. We played the body where possible as the physical style of play is what we are best at, and it only takes 1 big hit to lift the team spirit during a game. Despite the defeat, we improved out period scores dramatically over the previous game, and also had spells of the game where we were in charge and fighting in their end of the rink.
After 45 minutes I had a team full of weary bodies, but no further injuries.
What was nice to see at the game was a number of locals with Union Jacks supporting us. As a coach it was great to look into the crowd and see some support for the team.
Tomorrow (Thursday) is a rest day at the tournament. We have 90 minutes of ice time in the morning, but this i an optional session for the players and we’ll treat it as 90 minutes with ice and pucks for whoever wants to come down.
There is a Coaches v Referee’s game of Ice Hockey (not sledge) tomorrow afternoon as a bit of fun before the two big games against Slovakia on Friday and then on Saturday for the Bronze Medal.