Kfar Saba Kings completed the unique national titles sweep. A 6-4 win over North Stars of Metulla in the INHL Junior League final means that all four trophies for the 2022/23 season now rest proudly in the organization’s head office cabinet at One Ice Arena. Previously, men’s, youth, and U13 teams have won their respective leagues, and on Wednesday, Kings Juniors added the last missing piece of the puzzle.
Their victory – achieved on the opponents’ ice of Canada Center, the country’s oldest and most northern arena – was by no means straightforward. In the second period, the Kings had to claw back from a three-goal deficit only to find themselves trailing again at 4-3. But Vasily Lysov’s short-handed equalizer in the 42nd minute seemed to knock the home team spirit down and when eight minutes later Daniel Andreas Mueller put the Kings in front for the first time, the North Stars saw no way back. They tried to save the game by pulling the goalie for the sixth skater but to no avail. More than that, it led to an empty-netter in the dying seconds.
Israel’s top two junior teams will resume their rivalry in October when the new INHL season starts. But in January, all the clubs’ matters will be put aside as most Kings and North Stars players will unite under the national flag to represent their country at the 2024 IIHF U20 World Championship in Division 3A. The tournament will be hosted by One Ice Arena from January 22-29 with six teams representing four continents – Israel, Bulgaria, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Turkey – will contest promotion to Division 2B of the World Championships pyramid.