Ice Hockey: China take the top standings with six points and best goal difference
Zi Di
China's ice hockey team are flying high at home after winning two games of the Women's World Championship Division 1 Group B. The dominant victory over Asian rivals S. Korea show that the changes made to the squad after last year's PyeongChang Winter Olympics are already paying off.
With two games in and two convincing wins for China, they started by beating Latvia 3-0 for their first win over the Europeans in four years and followed with a 5-2 pounding of S. Korea. "It's a really tough game, it's hard, players from S. Korea have a good skate, so we have to play our game, that's the key point to win," coach of Team China said.
Although S. Korea scored the first goal early on, China soon got it back and then controlled the game in the first period. S. Korea are ranked 16th in the world - the highest among the Division 1 Group B teams.
Most of their players from the team at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics have retired while three dual nationality players also left the team. The current squad is made up of some younger athletes and they have lost two games in a row.
Kim Sang-Jun said that compared to last year's Winter Olympics, they now have a totally different squad and half of them are junior players. There aren't many playing ice hockey in S. Korea, so it's really difficult to build a team.
China also revamped their team earlier this year. By choosing the best and talented athletes from top clubs, the new Chinese squad are much improved and used better tactics when they competed against S. Korea.
After beating Latvia and S. Korea, China top the standings with six points and eight goals. Next up for China is a showdown with the Netherlands on Tuesday.