It was always going to be a tough game taking on Luxembourg, especially in the opening game for the Boys in Green at the 2012 IIHF World Championship Division III in Erzurum, Turkey.
It was the perfect start for Ireland, just over one minute into the game as Adam Jackson-Wyatt slotted the puck behind Luxembourg’s net, which was assisted by Gareth Roberts. But the goal was short lived as exactly a minute later Luxembourg equalised. Mid way through the period, Luxembourg came back fighting, scoring three goals in the matter of four minutes, leaving the score 4-1 at the end of the first period.
Steven Balmer was given his marching orders to the penalty book for tripping early in the second as the Luxembourg side took advantage of the powerplay with Schneider making it 5 – 1 to his side. Late into this period, Schneider slotted the puck past Irish keeper Adam Pepper to make the scoring 6-1 at the end of the second period to Luxembourg.
A series of penalties was dished out to both teams by Croatian referee Vedran Krcelic, but Ireland capitalised with less than five minutes to go in the game. A swift pass from Gareth Martin into the stick of Adam Jackson-Wyatt shot past the Luxembourg keeping, scoring his second of the game and bringing the score-line to 6-2. But Luxembourg replied in minutes with another goal, this time through Houdremount, clocking the scoreboard to 7-2 in favour of Luxembourg.
Ireland’s goaltender, Adam Pepper, must be congratulated on his performance, facing 44 shots and making 37 saves. A tough game for the team no doubt, however, it’s important that they learn from their mistakes and take some positives from the game. There were several chances for the Irish in this game and if they keep plugging away then the goals will come. As they say, they have to keep the faith.
Speaking from Turkey today, Ireland’s Headcoach, Kenny Redmond said ‘Lack of match practice showed on the ice today, but we battled well. We got better as the game went, our performance was on the up, however there was a three minute mental lapse in the first period. We have great team spirit and we will get better’.
Asked for a comment ahead of tomorrow’s clash against Greece, Ireland Headcoach, Kenny Redmond said ‘We have to regroup tonight and work on correcting simple mistakes and believe in ourselves’.
Final Score: Luxembourg 7 – Ireland 2 (4, 1, 2 – 0, 1 – 1)
SOG: 44 – 20 (16 – 6, 16 – 9, 12 – 5)
PIM: 14 – 16 (4 – 2, 4 – 6, 6 – 8)
Stats available at http://stats.iihf.com/Hydra/295/IHM295902_74_3_0.pdf