Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The 2014 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship Results (Part Two)

Welcome to the second of a miniseries of posts I am going to make about the 2014 IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship tournament. Most people don't realize that this tournament isn't just sixteen teams competing to win the gold medal. There are dozens of countries in various divisions competing to rise up the ladder of international ice hockey. In this, the 78th edition of the IIHF tournament, there are actually 46 teams trying to improve their international ranking and someday grab the gold medal.

In yesterdays' post I had a look at the tournament's sixth tier and the triumph of Bulgaria. The Bulgarians will compete next year in the 79th annual tournament in today's subject, Division II B. The fourth tier of the IIHF, Division II, is actually split into two sections, A and B. As one could guess, section B is the lower tier and section A is the higher tier.

The Division B tournament was hosted by Spain, a team recently relegated from Division II A, and took place from April 5th to April 11th. It features six teams. Here are the standings:

All graphs and charts courtesy of Wikipedia.

As you can see, the results are somewhat similar to Division III. There's is a massive discrepancy between the top three teams and the bottom three, and it becomes a dogfight to inch out a victory to avoid being relegated. Host Spain dominated every game it played and once again gets promoted back into Division A, while Turkey pays the price of losing a 4-2 game to South Africa and gets relegated to Division III. The majority of the teams in this division are (relative) newcomers to international ice hockey, with Spain being the exception. Not to criticize the success of Spain but one would think a 92 year old hockey system would be able to generate a competitive enough program to avoid being dropped into a low tier. They were as close as Division I A in 2011, but were torched in that tournament and were relegated again two years later in 2013.

Here are the top scorers for the tournament:

And the top goaltenders:

The top honours according to the tournament directorate went to Oriol Boronat for forward, Juan José Palacín for defenseman, and Ander Alcaine for goaltender; all three men hail from Spain. It's interesting to note Andrew Cox of New Zealand scored nine goals in five games for the Kiwis...could he be the Crosby of the land down under? New Zealand has had its own misfortune in the IIHF tournaments, bouncing between being ranked 32nd to 37th in the last five years, going as low as 41st in 2008. A quick glance at their roster shows their team is quite young, so a reversal of poor performances could be in order as the team competes more in the B division tournaments.

Tomorrow, a look at Division II A. It's still pretty difficult to find good information on the players participating, but Division A has a couple of European teams that have professionals who play in some domestic leagues, so here's hoping these reports get more interesting...

Click here for Part One.

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