TYCHY, Poland – France won the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group B in Poland and will move up to Group A next year. It’s the second straight promotion for “Les Bleus”.
The Frenchmen, promoted from Division II last year, won four out of their five games – the game they lost was on Sunday against Poland after they had already secured first place – although three out of their five games ended with a one-goal margin.
France defeated the silver- and bronze-medal winners Kazakhstan and Italy with a 2-1 score. In these key games France outshot its opponents, but had trouble putting the pucks in. Luckily for the French their goalkeeper Julian Barrier-Heyligen lived up to his name on the other end and allowed only three goals in the four games he played, saving 96.34% of the shots on his net.
Kazakhstan goes home with the silver medals. The Central Asian nation won the first three games before falling to France and Italy, but ten points were enough to occupy second place in front of Italy (8), Poland (7) and Croatia (6).
Japan finished in last place and goes down to Division II despite tight battles against Poland (3-2 overtime win) and Croatia (4-3 defeat). In the deciding game Japan held a 1-0 and 2-1 lead, but Croatia eventually celebrated a comeback victory.
Kazakhstan’s Pavel Poluetkov was named Best Goalkeeper while France’s Aziz Baazzi won the Best Defenceman award and Croatia’s Borna Rendulic was selected Best Forward.
Polish forward Damian Kapica finished first in goals (6) and scoring points (10).
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