Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More on the Bulgarian beatdown

Well, yesterday's post on the 82-0 annihilation of Team Bulgaria proved to be quite popular, so I figured it was worth a run through of a few more mind-boggling numbers.

In all, Bulgaria's fledgling women's team played four games in pre-Olympic qualifying in Latvia, with all the games taking place at the 1,200-seat Liepaja Arena (seen above). They were outscored 192-1, with the only goal coming from forward Olga Gospodinova on the team's only shot on goal against Croatia.

Not a good save percentage for the Croat keeper.

Bulgaria had just seven shots on goal in the tournament, including four against Italy and two against Latvia, but faced 405 — an average of more than 100 a game. The team's two netminders made 213 saves for a combined .526 save percentage and 48.4 goals against average.

The team finished with a 22.7 per cent penalty kill success rate, 10 shorthanded goals allowed and, to add insult to injury, the worst average attendance at a very poorly attended tourney. Only 242 total spectators bore witness to the team's four games, meaning only friends and family made the 2,000-kilometre trek.

I've got a request into the Bulgarian hockey federation for an interview, although given all the attention recently, I'm not optimistic that they'll be returning it. If ever there was a women's Olympic qualifying game you'd want a tape of, this would be it.

What's interesting to note is that Bulgaria actually has a pretty well established program for men's hockey, with several longstanding club teams, and is ranked 32nd in the world ahead of Australia, Belgium, Israel, Spain and Mexico.

Only 33 countries are on the women's list, and its reasonably safe to say that, when Bulgaria gets added, they'll be No. 34.

Slovakia, after all, is only 17th, and not competitive at the highest level of women's hockey.

Bulgaria's next games of note will be at the 2009 world championships (Fifth Division) in Gdansk, Poland, on March 26-29. They will face Spain, Poland and Ireland.

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At 3:21 a.m., September 09, 2008, Anonymous Sternip said...

48.4 GAA - lol!

It must be if you're a women and play ice hockey in Bulgaria you're on the national team. I've always wished I'd been born with citizenship in somewhere like Andorra or the Faroe Isles so I could play on the soccer team.

At 3:33 a.m., September 09, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

I hear Olga Gospodinova is the Hayley Wickenheiser of Bulgaria.

At 4:16 a.m., September 09, 2008, Anonymous Marl said...

Sternip: Uh, come on, at least Andorra has professional players in soccer, it's between Spain and France for heaven's sake and everyone plays as a kid there. Compared to Bulgaria's women's hockey team... Where your assessment is correct: with the international roster size (dressed) of 22 and 37 registered players, it doesn't seem too difficult to make the team :D

At 7:05 a.m., September 09, 2008, Blogger Whale4ever said...

We unquestionably Need. That. Tape. There has to be one somewhere.

This story definitely has legs.

At 8:39 a.m., September 09, 2008, Blogger Sean said...

IIHF has to have footage available somehow. James get on the horn with Zurich!


At 9:16 a.m., September 09, 2008, Blogger Moe said...

By comparison, the Detroit Red Wings only gave up 184 goals in the entire 2007-8 season!

Although, if you look at the stats, the Bulgarians did lead the tournament in saves.

At 9:43 a.m., September 09, 2008, Blogger btumpak said...

enough about the redwings


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