Bulgaria’s first major hockey event of the season began in dominating fashion, beating Georgia 9-1 to move on to the first official round of the Olympic Qualifiers next month.

Playing in a winner-takes-all style contest, Bulgaria came in as the clear favourites to move on to Group K, one of the two groups participating in the first round of the Olympic Qualifiers.

Bulgaria, currently ranked 39th in the IIHF World Rankings, do actually have Olympic experience. Ranked 14th at the time, Bulgaria played at the 1976 event in Innsbruck, Austria, finishing with zero points while allowing 38 goals in five games.

Bulgaria’s hockey history isn’t new. In fact, the team first participated back in 1942, beating Yugoslavia 4-2 in their debut contest. The team has not had much success in their past, however, with just two ever tournament titles in their history. The last time Bulgaria played Georgia back in 2014 at the Division III World Championships, the pre-game favourites easily came ahead with the 19-1 victory, helping them earn a spot in the Division IIB World’s for 2015. Bulgaria was able to stick around in DIIB for another year despite a poor performance, keeping themselves up after a fourth place finish.

For Georgia, their first attempt at an Olympic qualifier tournament was ended shortly after the loss on Saturday. Georgia did win two games at the most recent World Championships, defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-1 for their first victory, only to follow that up with a surprise 5-4 win over the United Arab Emirates in the next game.

Bulgaria, the 35th ranked team in the Olympic Qualifiers, will face Estonia (28), Mexico (31) and Israel (32) in Tallinn, Estonia from November 5th-8th.

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

About The Author

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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