Great Britain to challenge the reigning world champs
by Niklas Aßfalg/Christian Bellinger
Finland's top two gamers will open their playoff hunt with a matchup Team GBR at the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship.
The last significant meeting between the two nations took place on real ice last year: At the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, with Finland winning by a commanding 5:0 score. While Finland subsequently rose to become the champions of the hockey world, Great Britain had a victory of its own by avoidign the relegation round in an overtime win against France on their final day.. In the virtual version of EA SPORTS™' NHL™ 20, the British are aiming to achieve better results at the 2020 IIHF Esports Fan Championship.
But the challenge of facing Finland on the digital ice will not be smaller than in reality. With Erik 'Tilantekija' Tammenpää, the Finns have no one less than the winner of the 2018 NHL™ Gaming World Championship in their ranks. The 20-year-old from Team SAMPI definitely has the necessary quality, and the form is also right: In the qualifiers he beat his six opponents on Xbox One with a goal ratio of 47:7. His counterpart on the PlayStation 4, Joel 'rottadee' Myllymäki, is no stranger to the game either having attracted national attention.
Connor 'MartindalexC' Martindale and Sean 'Sean' McIntosh are not quite as popular as the Finns. However, both presented themselves very convincingly in the qualification and dominated on their consoles. 'MartindalexC' plays on the PS4 for the Swedish team Lulea Hockey Esport, on the real ice he cheers with the Chicago Blackhawks. 'Sean' could become the Achilles heel due to his lack of experience, but the 24-year-old can tackle the task with the ease of the underdog. "I'm just looking to enjoy this experience, and use it as a learning opportunity against some of the finest 1v1 players around", says 'MartindalexC'.
In the playoffs, the 16 nations qualified for the cancelled World Championship 2020 will meet in duos. The game is played in a knock-out system, with two games being played on each console. The results of the four games are added together. If a draw is recorded at the end of the game, a Sudden Death extension will be played simultaneously on both consoles with a Golden Goal decision. The puck drop between Finland and Great Britain takes place on Friday at 4pm (UTC) and can be followed on the official IIHF Twitch channel, the winner moves on to the quarterfinals.