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Ice Blacks second at IIHF world tournament

Updated: May 1

Ice Blacks ice hockey
The New Zealand Ice Blacks finished runners-up at their IIHF world championship. PHOTO: IIHF

The New Zealand Ice Blacks have secured silver medals at the 2024 IIHF Division II Group B tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The medal was the team’s first since 2019, and an improvement on the 2023 championship result where the team finished fourth overall.

The team MVP was Stefan Amston, who finished with five goals and four assists, and was named best defenceman for the tournament.

Ice Blacks goaltender Csaba Kercso-Magos was ranked second at the tournament, with a 90.91 save percentage and 3.33 goals against average.

Forward Jackson Fontaine led the tournament and the team with seven goals, scoring in four of five games, while captain Matthew Schneider, Colin McIntosh, Michael Attwell and Ryan Strayer all potted two goals.

Three New Zealand skaters - Amston (nine), Fontaine (eight) and McIntosh (seven) - all finished in the top-10 in points.

"While it’s not the gold we had hoped for, we are still incredibly proud of the team and what they’ve accomplished here in Bulgaria," said co-head coach AJ Spiller. "With nine rookies on the team this year, the future is looking bright for the Ice Blacks."

The team was forced to wait until the last game of the tournament, Georgia vs Belgium, to find out if they would receive a silver or bronze medals, with the top-three places at tournament still undecided.

Belgium defeated Georgia, maintaining their unbeaten run at the tournament, awarding the silver medal to the Kiwis, with the Georgians taking home bronze.

The Ice Blacks opened with wins over Chinese Taipei (5-1) and Georgia (6-2), before a 7-6 shootout loss to Bulgaria. After a 6-0 shutout against Belgium, they closed with a 5-2 victory over Turkiye.

New Zealand scored four goals in the third period to beat Chinese Taipei, while they lead 4-1 after two periods against Georgia. The 11 goals came from eight different scorers.

The Ice Blacks came from 5-2 down against Bulgaria, with Amston scoring two goals in the third period, the last with 20 seconds remaining, to complete his hat-trick and send the game to overtime. They eventually fell 3-0 in the shootout.

Fontaine had two goals in the first period against Turkiye, finishing off a hat-trick of his own in the third of a comfortable win.


New Zealand 5 (Jacob Carey, Stefan Amston, Jackson Fontaine, Matthew Schneider, Colin McIntosh) Chinese Taipei 1

New Zealand 6 (Colin McIntosh, Stefan Amston, Ryan Strayer, Michael Attwell, Robin Vortanov, Jackson Fontaine) Georgia 2

Bulgaria 7 New Zealand 6 (Stefan Amston 3, Jackson Fontaine 2, Matthew Schneider) in shootout

Belgium 6 New Zealand 0

New Zealand 5 (Jackson Fontaine 3, Michael Attwell, Ryan Strayer) Turkiye 2


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