Quarterfinal day at InLine Worlds

Finland to miss medal podium for first time since 1997.


Defending Division I gold medalist, Brazil earned a spot in the semi-finals. Photo: Jakub Sukub

Top Division:
Sweden – Finland 9-3 (3-0, 5-0, 0-0, 1-3)

It’s the end of an era at the InLine Hockey World Championship. After winning a medal every year since 1997, the Finns will miss the podium this year after falling in the quarterfinal against rival Sweden 9-3. It simply hasn’t been a good year for the Finns at the InLine championship. They limped through the preliminary round, finishing a disappointing third place. The low finish set up the rare quarterfinal match-up between the two traditional powerhouse nations. Traditionally, when the two nations meet, a medal is on the line. Even a game of musical goaltenders by Finnish coach Nemo Nokkosmaki couldn’t keep the medal streak alive. After Sweden put in three goals in the first quarter, including a pair of rapid-fire tallies late in the quarter, Sasu Hovi was replaced by Mikko Koskinen. Koskinen held his own early, but then surrendered two goals in a 13-second span. Sweden smelled blood and put in another trio of goals midway through the period in just over two minutes to take a commanding 8-0 lead. After halftime, Hovi was put back in net, and held Sweden scoreless through the third quarter. Finland chipped away at the lead, scoring two goals, a shorthanded tally and power-play effort, to make it a 8-2 game. But the early lead was too much for the Finns to overcome as teams exchanged late goals and Sweden celebrated its sixth straight semi-final appearance.

Czech Republic – Slovakia 5-6 (0-0, 2-2, 1-2, 2-1, 0-1)
The derby between host Slovakia and rival Czech Republic in the InLine quarterfinal lived up to its expectations as Slovakia survived a dramatic fourth quarter and overtime and skated into the semi-finals with a 6-5 win.

The teams were even throughout the game as no team could pull ahead by more than a goal. After a scoreless first quarter, there was a flurry of activity in the second as the squads matched each other goal for goal, ending the half in a 2-2 deadlock. Martin Klucar gave Slovakia at 3-2 lead 26 seconds into the second half but Ales Hemsky had the answer for the Czechs. Slovakia took the lead again before the end of the third quarter, only to have the advantage erased once again by Hemsky, who had three goals in the win.

But 32 seconds later Jakub Ruckay gave Slovakia the 5-4 lead, only to have it nullified yet again – this time by Jiri Polanski. The 5-5 tie held until the end of regulation sending the game into overtime. Richard Kapus put in the game winner 2:22 into the extra period much to the joy of the home team fans. Slovakia will face the U.S. in the semi-final game, while the Czechs will look to regroup for tomorrow’s placement game.

USA – Austria 17-1 (4-0, 5-1, 4-0, 4-0)
The Americans have bounced back from their disaterous sixth-place finish last year to claim a spot in the semi-finals after destroying Austria 17-1.

It was all USA in the quarterfinal match-up as the Austrians had no chance against the top-seeded Americans. Seven different players scored nine goals in the first half alone as the U.S. owned a 9-1 lead at the end of the first 24 minutes. Pat Lee and James Beilsten had two goals in the early onslaught. Things didn't improve for Austria in the second half as the Americans added another four goals in each quarter to cruise to the lopsided 17-1 win. The U.S. will face the winner of the Czech Republic-Slovakia derby in the semi-finals.

Slovenia – Germany 2-5 (0-1, 1-1, 1-0, 0-3)
Germany has found its winning touch at the InLine Hockey World Championship. After beating Canada in yesterday’s qualification game, the German’s continued their winning ways with a 5-2 win over top-seeded Slovenia in the quarterfinal. The win puts Germany into the semi-final round where they will meet Sweden. Germany took a 2-0 lead with a goal in the waning moments of the first quarter followed by another tally in the opening moments of the second quarter. It took Slovenia until nearly halftime to get on the scoreboard when Tadej Nebergoj cut the lead in half with just over a minute left in the second quarter. The game-tying goal came 49 seconds into the second half after, once again, Germany switched goaltender Jochen Vollmer for Thomas Ower at halftime. But Ower didn’t get rattled by the quick goal, and held Slovenia scoreless for rest of the game. While Ower was taking care of business on one side of the rink, Germany took care of things on the other side, getting the go-ahead goal at the 40:20 mark from Patrick Reimer.  Just over five minutes later Florian Zeller secured the win with a 4-2 goal, while a goal with 12 seconds left brought the final to 5-2. The win gave last year’s bronze medalists the last open spot in the top division semi-finals.

Division I
Japan – Australia 4-5 (0-1, 0-2, 3-1, 1-1)

Australia’s power play proved to be too potent for Japan as four extra-man goals paved the way for a 5-4 Aussie win. For Japan it was a tough loss after finishing the preliminary round in a strong second place. Australia had command of the first half, scoring three unanswered goals on 15 shots. Australia had only two power-play chances in the first half and scored on both opportunities. Japan opened the second half with a quick power-play goal 1:55 into action, but Australia countered less than two minutes later to restore the three-goal lead. Three straight goals from Japan made for tense moments on the Australian bench, but Olivier Rozdarz’s goal in the late stages of the game secured the 5-4 win. Australia moves onto the semi-finals, while Japan will close the championship in the placement game.

Brazil – Hungary 5-3 (1-0, 1-2, 2-1, 1-0)
Defending division I gold medalist Brazil skated into the semi-final for the third straight year after defeating Hungary 5-3. It is the first time since the IIHF made Division I an eight-team event that Hungary is out of the medal race.
It wasn’t easy for Brazil to shake the persistent Hungarians, who seemed to have an answer for every goal. The teams exchanged goals through the first half, ending in a 2-2 deadlock. A third-quarter surge proved to the difference for the Brazilians as they put in two goals 1:38 apart to take a 4-2 lead. Hungary managed to cut the lead back down to one goal, but the insurance goal from Luiz Almeida secured Brazil’s victory and its spot in the semi-finals.

Canada – Bulgaria 9-1 (2-1, 3-0, 1-0, 3-0)
Canada rebounded from its qualification game loss yesterday and showed that it is still the team to beat in Division I after earning an easy 9-1 win against Bulgaria.

It took only 16 seconds for Canada to get on the board as Jonathon Clewlow made it clear that Canada was after a spot in the semi-finals. Despite the rocky start, Bulgaria kept the game close for awhile and trailed only 2-1 at the end of the first quarter. But Canada found its scoring tough when the second quarter started and put in three unanswered goals to pull out to a solid 5-1 lead at the half.

Canada played switched into defense mode in the second half, keeping Bulgaria scoreless. Despite the focus on defense, Canada still put in another four goals in the half, rolling onto the 9-1 win. It was a total team effort from Canada, as only Gregory Smith scored twice.

Great Britain – New Zealand 7-0 (1-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0)
It wasn’t flashy, but Great Britain skated into the semi-finals with a 7-0 shutout against New Zealand. The top-seeded Brits, playing their fifth game in as many days did nothing fancy, but ultimately got the job done against lowest-seeded New Zealand.

The first half featured only two goals, both coming from Great Britain. John Dolan and Alex Pearman scored the tallies. Great Britain steadily added to its lead in the second half, picking up the offensive production a little with two goals in the third quarter, followed by three in the fourth. John Dolan added two of the fourth-quarter goals, finishing the game with a hat trick as his team earned the 7-0 win.
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