International Series: Team Poland - Junior Hockey News
Published: Monday, 14 May 2012
By: Matt Prosser
Warsaw, Poland - Think of your favorite team that just never quite lived up to its capabilities. What was it about that team that just didn't work? We'll pick this up in a minute, but for now suffice it to say that team Poland in 2012 was one of those teams that just didn't meet expectations. The Poland Ice Hockey Federation has been around for the past 35 years and has bounced around between Division I and II of the IIHF World U20 Junior Ice Hockey Championships for the past few years. In 2011 they made the jump from DIIB all the way to DIB where it just didn't pan out.
IIHF Record: 88-89-13
2012 Final Results: Division I Group B Fourth Place with 2-2-1 record
Head Coach: Jaroslaw Morawiecki (POL)
Back to the prior question: some plausible reasons your favorite underachieving team didn't go all the way could include lack of team chemistry, inability to get the game clinching goal or save, or even the inability to have a big game when needed most. Chances are, if you are a fan of the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Cubs, or the Buffalo Bills then you probably understand the feeling of disappointment when your team has all the abilities to bring home the championship, but just falls short.
The country of Poland can relate. Last year, they finished with the three top scorers (all of which were in their final year) of Division I Group B, had the physicality to compete with any opponent, and had the explosiveness to break any game wide open (which they did in game one). So what was the Achilles heel of the team? Goaltending. It was obvious that there was a complete lack of confidence in between the pipes when they brought three keepers with them and had a short leash for their starter. Typically teams will only have two goalies in tow and allow the number one guy to continue competing. But after Mariusz Ryszkaniec won the first game and dropped the next two, he sat on the bench for game four, and didn't even get to dress for game five.
However, there is a bright side; and in this case it is similar to one that other teams have going with them. Poland won't have a lot of turnover. Albeit, they're losing their top three skaters (Damian Kapica, Mateusz Michalski, and Kamil Kalinowski) who combined scored 26 points, but their supporting cast won't have a gigantic drop off and there is an entire year to mold them to take the reins. Poland could find themselves in the middle of the pack again if they aren't careful but, the future isn't looking too shabby either.
Matt Prosser, Beat Writer for JuniorHockey.com and host of the upcoming show: Junior Hockey Central. Founder of Fifty8 Productions and freelance writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. Voice of California State University, Sacramento Hockey and host of The Sports Cycle with Matt Prosser on KSSU1580 Sacramento. For questions, writing ventures, or advertising/sponsorships for the show please e-mail Matt@Fifty8productions.com. Follow on Twitter @MattProsser58 or visit www.Fifty8Productions.com.
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