Games We Play: Ice Hockey

Ravniaga leads Haifa over Ma'alot, Bat Yam II wins derby.

bat yam hockey 88 lg (photo credit: Lionel Gaffen)
bat yam hockey 88 lg
(photo credit: Lionel Gaffen)
Haifa crushed Ma'alot 9-4 on Friday in the opening game of a men's senior hockey league double-header at the Canada Center, while Bat Yam II had its way with Bat Yam I in the nightcap. The Haifa line of national team regulars Eddy Ravniaga, Sergei Belo and Artium Korotin did most of the damage. Ravniaga was the star of the show as he was involved in eight of his team's goals. Haifa controlled the puck for the better part of the game, but Ma'alot continued to show improvement. Ravniaga opened the scoring with the first of his four, just before the six-minute mark. Ma'alot managed to hang tough for the next 10 minutes until Korotin fired one past Leonid Zalizniack after a lead in pass from Ravnniaga. With just over a minute remaining in the opening period, Ravniaga tallied again, and then fed Belo for his first goal of the match, seconds before the whistle. A minute into the second stanza, Vladimir Shopinsky tallied his first of two on a breakaway pass from Ravniaga. Six minutes later, with Ma'alot putting on all kinds of pressure on the Haifa net, Slava Golodnitsky ended a nifty passing sequence by cracking his first of a hat trick past Boris Amromin. However it was Haifa's Belo that scored again six minutes after that to make it 6-1 after two stanzas. Ma'alot took an early penalty at the start of the third, but it was Ravniaga who broke away for a neatly executed shorthanded goal, and less than a minute later, rubbed their noses in it by tallying his fourth. To its credit, Ma'alot never gave up and continued to pour it on to the very last, getting stronger as the game went on, but couldn't overcome the huge deficit created by Ravniaga, Belo and Shopinsky. Golodnitsky sliced one home at the 47 minute mark, Alex Kuzmenkov made it 9-3 just two minutes later, and on a powerplay effort at the 55th point, Golodnitsky completed his hat trick. Vachtang Dinzdada and Zalizniack faced 30 shots, while Amromin had 22 to handle, most of them in the final frame as Ma'alot went on the offensive with increasing regularity. Ravniaga said afterwards that it was natural for his line to be the team leaders, "as it's the leading line that sets the pace for the team, and all three of us have been on the national team in the past." Bat Yam II Swamped a beleaguered Bat Yam I 18-1 behind a seven-goal performance by Edouard Tokar. Bat Yam I had the misfortune to be missing the country's top goalie, Evgeny Gussin, who single handedly held off Metulla for a narrow 2-1 loss in the team's last game, despite facing a 60-shot barrage. While back up goaltender Dima Gromkov also faced nearly 60 shots, he is not Gussin, and the total lack of defensive support combined with a young squad that is not yet able to provide any kind of sustained offense provided a debacle for I once the scoring floodgates opened. Avishai Geller and Radek Issakaev each scored a hat trick while Marek Lebedev chipped in a pair for the winners. Vitaly Panin, Sergei Ishenko and Vitaly Schwartzman chipped in with one goal each, and Roman Gutkin managed I's lone goal. The first International Invitational Tournament sponsored by the Friends of Israel Ice Hockey Federation, comprising teams from Canada, the United States and Israel, will take place at the Canada Center in Metulla on January 24-26. The benefit event will feature non-contact games involving players of both sexes, and the proceeds will go to help the development of the hockey programs in Israel. Those interested can contact Harry at for further details.