U18 AKA wins Elite Cup
Tuesday, 07. May 2024 |
U18 AKA wins Elite CupAnother milestone for the Red Bull Ice Hockey Academy's U18 academy team// NextLevelLast Sunday, the team won the Elite Cup. After an intensive season with tournaments throughout Europe, Head Coach Antti Aarnio's team was crowned champion.
"It was so good," summarizes Aarnio. "We started in Poland at the beginning of the regular season and played a total of four Elite Cup tournaments this year." The tournament weekends took place in Poland, Budapest, Italy and Salzburg. Over the course of the competitions, the U18 academy team faced teams such as the U18 national teams from Poland, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia.
Final tournament in Salzburg
"The final tournament took place in Salzburg," explains Aarnio. "It was a great weekend for us, even though we had to get back into the game after the long break of six weeks since the last regular season game." Despite the interruption, the team dominated the first game against Italy, allowing only 6 to 8 shots defensively and winning 3:0 with confidence. The second game against Poland was more physical. "Poland has a really big team and plays very physically. But we defended superbly, didn't allow any chances in the slot and forced them to attempt shots from outside," said Aarnio, praising his team. With a clear 8:1 victory, the Red Bull Ice Hockey Academy secured the Elite Cup title.
The significance of the title
In addition to the Elite Cup, the U18 academy team also won the U18 international League and the Austrian championship. But which title is more valuable for Aarnio? "The playoff series against Okanagan Hockey Academy, Budapest Jekorong Akademie and KAC was good, and the pace of play was similar to the Elite Cup. For the players, the league title was more important, as you could see from the guys' emotions. But winning both titles is a nice way to end the season."
A decisive factor for the success was the development of the players over the course of the season. "In our first game we lost 3:2 to Poland, and in the final we beat them 8:1. So we definitely did something right," emphasizes Aarnio.
Focus after the championship
After winning the championship, new challenges lay ahead. "Of course, many of the boys were in action at the U18 World Championships and it was important to keep them in shape and develop them further," explains Aarnio. "The first three weeks were easy because they were motivated to qualify for the U18 teams. After that, we concentrated on basic training."
Even though the following two weeks were a little tougher mentally, the team got back into "game mode" in good time.
"A big win for us is to keep the mentality of winning, even after a long break," concludes Aarnio. With the Elite Cup and the U18 Championship, the young talents of the Red Bull Ice Hockey Academy have had an impressive season and proven that they can play at the highest level, both mentally and athletically.
Fotos: Petr Hubal
Mit Galerie
U18 AKA secures championship title against Klagenfurt// JUNIORS
Mit Video
Start of the semi-finals for the U20 and U18 academy team// NEXTLEVEL
Mit Video
The U17 AKA starts the playoff semi-finals// NEXTLEVEL
Mit Galerie
U18 AKA secures championship title against Klagenfurt// JUNIORS
Mit Video
Start of the semi-finals for the U20 and U18 academy team// NEXTLEVEL
Mit Video
The U17 AKA starts the playoff semi-finals// NEXTLEVEL
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