New Zealand second in division B championships

New Zealand player Caitlin Heale, of Otago, flies through the air attempting to reach the puck in...
New Zealand player Caitlin Heale, of Otago, flies through the air attempting to reach the puck in the match against Croatia in Romania late on Sunday night (NZ time) at the IIHF division two B world championships. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The New Zealand ice hockey team beat Croatia 5-1 in its final game but had to settle for silver at the IIHF division two B world championships in Romania.

Chinese Taipei won the championships after it completed an unbeaten record with a 5-2 victory over Iceland. The only loss for New Zealand in its five games was a 3-0 defeat by Chinese Taipei.

In the match against Croatia, both teams were slow to start.

Against the run of play, Reagyn Shattock skated up the left wing and showed some good skills to score the opening goal after 28 minutes.

New Zealand scored again two minutes later, when a Caitlin Heale shot was fumbled by the goalie and went loose in the circle. Hope Gregory went digging and flicked it home to put New Zealand 2-0 up.

Harriet Fuller executed a beautiful sprint up the left wing, and finished well with a nice wrist shot to get her first goal at this level.

Abbey Heale added her maiden IIHF goal, too, when, four minutes later, a Jasmine Horner-Pascoe shot was rebounded, and the younger Heale sibling had no problems in burying the puck to put the Ice Fernz 4-0 up.

After a sustained period of pressure, Croatia finally scored with a wrist shot that found the top right corner of the New Zealand net, denying goaltender Lochlyn Hyde a chance of an IIHF shutout.

Seasoned Ice Fernz defender Jaime Jones then restored the advantage with a slap shot that went in off the goaltender.

Abbey Heale, who played on the left wing, had a fine match.

The award for the best New Zealand player of the tournament went to Horner Pascoe. The Aucklander finished the tournament with five goals and five assists, enough to secure second place on the overall points table.

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