Dumfries, GB - The International Ice Hockey Federation held the preliminary round of their championships in Dumfries, Great Britain. Italian national and member of the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders Martin Rabanser was named “most valuable goaltender” of the tournament.
The U20 Italian team entered the tournament as the third seed. Backed by a standout performance by Rabanser, the Italians went undefeated. The undefeated streak earned the team a promotion to group A.
“We’re very proud of Martin,” said P.A.L. head coach Ed Galiani. “He’s got a lot of talent and has been developing throughout the season.”
Rabanser and the Italians showed character and heart, facing defeat in their opening match against Great Britain. With 32 seconds remaining, Rabanser stood tall and the offense went to work. Italy won, 4-3 OT.
“I’m very proud of what our team accomplished,” said Rabanser. “We all worked very hard and never gave up.”
The come back story of the tournament, Italy fell behind Japan and Kazakstan before winning 4-3. By defeating their final opponent France the Italians earned a spot in division I group A.
“It was a fantastic tournament with some great teams, and there was no easy night. But we made it and we must now prepare for the future,” said Italy head coach Robert Chizzali.
What does the future look like for Italy? The promotion to group A will make the Italian team eligible to compete for a spot in the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)