National ice hockey team wins and advances to showdown

Greece booked their place in ice hockey’s Division III World Championships with an 8-5 victory over Armenia in their second qualification match in Sarajevo on Saturday night, after beating hosts Bosnia-Herzegovina 10-1 on Friday. The Greeks staged a successful return to international competition after nine years in the wilderness. They will be the sixth team at the World Championship Division III in Kockelscheuer, where hosts Luxembourg, DPR Korea, Mongolia, South Africa and Turkey will be the other participants from March 31 to April 6. It was a tight game against Armenia, which was decided thanks to an efficient middle period in favor of Greece. The Greeks had taken a comfortable 6-2 cushion but the Armenians came storming back with three goals in two minutes. Greece head coach Panagiotis Efkarpidis replaced netminder Dalimpor Ploutsis with Georgios Fiotakis and with two goals in the last 65 seconds of the game secured qualification for the Greeks. Greece had taken their first step toward Luxembourg when they beat Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo on Friday. Playing in front of 3,100 fans, the start of the game was balanced and Muamer Dzamalija equalized the Greek lead at 20:53. But the Bosnia-Herzegovina team could not keep up the pace and was outshot 46 to19. Igor Apostolidis, who participated in Greece’s last appearance in the 1999 World Championship pool D in South Africa, scored two goals and made three assists. Defenceman Ioannis Koufis also scored twice.