England U15’s first defeat

England U15 2   RNK Raisio 4

A completely different story from yesterday for the first game in Fussen today.  England faced a well drilled and highly competent Finnish team, RNK Raisio, who were brimming with technically capable players.

Raisio took an early lead through a poor line change by England and a very quick transition leading to a swift 3-on-2 breakout which left England short and found wanting for the first time in the tournament at equal strength.

As England tried to find some momentum. ill-discipline crept back in to their game and they were punished with minor penalties for very minor infringements.  Raisio’s power-play unit was very well structured and was extremely well executed with great skill and good discipline. 

Despite this England’s 15’s maintained great shape especially when 5-on-3.  Coach Aldridge said of the PK unit “our PK was excellent and Hazeldine’s timely intervention when 5-on-3 with a neat poke check and he was away to net England’s first with a nice deke on the goalie”.

Another well worked goal from Raisio and the period ended 2-1.

England started the second period short-handed and killed the penalty only to receive another minor for hooking which left the supporters stunned.  The Finns capitalised almost immediately with a point shot and lovely tip-in giving England goalie, Nick Winters, no chance.

As they continued to work hard to close-down Raisio, England continued to take penalties as they found it difficult to contain a technically talented and hard working Finnish unit.  A strong fore-check leading to a turn-over in the neutral zone presented a 2-on-1 for Hazeldine and Huong who managed to pull-back to 3-2.  As England mounted pressure and the clock counted down Coach Aldridge made a tough decision to pull goalie Winters and face-off in the offensive zone with the man advantage.  But Raisio were really strong on the face-off draw leaving England isolated and as the puck broke free an empty net was presented from long range which was sunk along with England’s valiant hearts.

After the game Coach Aldridge said:  “I thought we came-up against a well structured unit today and they provided us with a real test.  My team played with passion and worked hard but the penalties killed us.”  She went on to say. “At 5-on-5 we were more than a match for the Finns.  We were pressuring well, our turn-overs in the neutral zone were excellent and we created chances but their goalie was in fine form.  Overall it was a good game and a big test which we will have learned from.”

Head Coach Peter Winn said:  “It was a good game and the difference between the teams was the amount of training and game time together of each team.  The Finns played a solid team game, and we will learn from that experience.”

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