The 2019 Ice Blacks left New Zealand on Monday 8 April bound for Colorado where they prepared for their IIHF Division II Group B Championship in Mexico City, Mexico. Our Botany Swarm boys were part of the travelling team who played three exhibition games against local team, the Vail Yeti. The Ice Blacks took the series two games to one – the third and final game ending in a shootout.
The squad then travelled to Mexico City and began their quest for a medal on Sunday 21 April with a convincing win against Mexico – 7-2. Jordan Challis awarded Best Player with his on ice magic. Congrats, Jordan.
Monday 22 April, the squad faced off against an in-form Israeli team and came away with close loss – 5-3 to Israel. The game was a blow for blow event with 31 shots for and 35 shots against the Ice Blacks.
A rest day followed on Tuesday 23 April and then game three against Georgia on Wednesday 24 with another convincing win by the Ice Blacks – 6-2. Andy Hay played his 70th game for the New Zealand Ice Blacks – the most capped player ever. A huge achievement – congrats Andy! The Botany Swarm contingent did itself proud yet again with assists by Jordan Challis (x4) and Rick Parry sitting on a tournament goal average of 91.3%.
Game four of the championship was against DPR Korea on Friday 26 April with the Ice Blacks getting another win on the board – 8-5, the Botany Swarm contingent putting more points on the board for the team with a great goal by Alexandr Polozov in the third period and assists coming from Stephen Mawson, Jordan Challis and Alexandr Polozov.
The crunch silver or bronze medal game against the Iceland team (as Israel had already secured the gold) took place on Saturday 27 April. The Ice Blacks failed to secure a win with the final score to Iceland – 4-2. They were awarded the bronze medal for the 2019 IIHF Division II Group B Championship – a good outcome for the squad.
Tournament statistics and all results can be found here.