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3 NZ Ice Hockey athletes to play in medal matches at Winter Youth Olympic Games

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Kiwi ice hockey athletes Axel Ruski-Jones (Queenstown) Katya Blong (Auckland) and Tallulah Bryant (Queenstown) have advanced to the medal rounds of the 3x3 Ice Hockey tournament at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

The athletes teams will tomorrow (January 13th) contest their respective semi-finals, with the results to determine whether the teams will play for gold or bronze on January 14th.

"We’re going really well and I’m pretty excited to have made it through to the medal rounds, hopefully we can go well tomorrow," said Ruski-Jones.

The athletes are playing in the mixed NOC tournament being run at Lausanne 2020. The unique format sees the eight teams made up of 13 athletes from 13 different countries. This means teammates have never played with each other before and often don’t even speak the same language.

"I love it, it’s a good experience playing with new people and my teammates are really nice and supportive. Not everyone speaks English but we’re making it work," said Blong.

The 3x3 games are fast paced with 3x players from each team allowed on the ice for just one minute before being required to sub off. The games last for three rounds of 16 minutes.

"I normally play centre which is offense and defence but it’s good in this game because it’s fast paced and it changes a lot so it’s good to be able to play both positions," said Blong.

"I’m really enjoying this format, it’s new for everyone but it’s very fast flowing and there’s not much waiting around which is great," added Ruski-Jones.

Meanwhile the New Zealand Curling team has qualified for the quarter-finals after beating Norway in another tight match.

Zoe Harman, Lucy Neilson, Hunter Walker and Will Becker (all from Maniototo) started strong to win the first three ends at the Champery Curling Arena.

The Norwegians fought back but New Zealand held on to a narrow lead to win 6-5.

It’s the curlers fourth straight win in a competition which is usually dominated by Europeans. The New Zealand curlers take on Great Britain tomorrow.

In the alpine skiing Aucklander Harrison Messenger recorded a solid time of 1:07.08s in his first run on the men’s Giant Slalom course.

However the 17-year-old was unable to hold it together on his second run with difficult conditions resulting in a crash and a DNF.

Messenger and teammate Katie Crawford race again tomorrow in the Slalom.

Biathlon athlete and New Zealand Team flagbearer Campbell Wright is also in action tomorrow. The 17-year-old will contest his favoured distance in the 7.5k sprint discipline at 10.30am local time.

Winter Youth Olympic Games coverage is available on Sky Sport.

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