Dramatic wins for Canada, U.S.

InLine: Finns beat Czechs, Axelsson/Wessner shine for Sweden

02.06.2012
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Canada stops Germany to win its first game of the tournament. Photo: Norbert Kolb

INGOLSTADT – The U.S. won their second game at the 2012 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship, 5-4 vs. Slovenia, while Canada also had a last-minute win, 4-3 against Germany. Sweden steamrollered newcomer Great Britain 13-3 and Finland earned its first win, 7-4 against the Czechs.

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TOP DIVISION

Canada vs. Germany 4-3 (1-1, 0-0, 2-2, 1-0)

Canada edged Germany 4-3 to secure the second spot in Group B before the last game of the preliminary round. David Hammond scored the game-winner with 13 seconds left in regulation time while Max Grassi had two goals.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling. Everyone worked that hard and put that much into it,” Grassi said.

“We knew the game was going to be an obstacle. It was a must-win game for both. The fans got really loud in here when the Germans tied it up. We were very fortunate to win this building in front of this unbelievable crowd.”

In a tight game before 2,447 fans at Saturn Arena it was the Canadians who opened the scoring at 9:38. Hammond passed from left to right side where Grassi shot the puck into the empty net on a power play.

Soon after the goal also Germany got its first man advantage before the end of the period and as the penalty was due to expire, Michael Wolf tied it up with 24 seconds left in the period.

At the beginning of the third period Canada managed to gain a two-goal lead. At 3:34 Grassi scored his second goal on a power play after a pass from behind the net. 26 seconds later German goalkeeper Jochen Vollmer deflected a shot from the red line, but Jonathan Spady escaped towards the net to capitalize on the rebound.

However, Germany fought back successfully. Thomas Greilinger scored after being fed with a drop pass from the end boards by Florian Schütz at 7:58, and the Germans scored again two-and-a-half minutes later. The host team put a lot of pressure on the Canadian net on a power play and Michael Wolf netted the puck with a hard shot after receiving a pass from the other side to tie the game.

The Germans had the biggest chance to gain the lead three minutes before the end of regulation time on a power play, but Schütz hit the goal post with the best opportunity. But with 13 seconds left the puck went in on the other side. The Canadians made use of weak German positioning and Hammond scored with a precise shot.

USA vs. Slovenia 5-4 (2-0, 1-1, 0-1, 2-2)

It was a Hollywood-like finish in a game the U.S. were leading for most of the time before Slovenia’s comeback in the last 13 minutes of play.

The Slovenes recovered from a 3-0 deficit to turn the game in the last period, but the Americans tied it up. In the last minute of regulation time Rok Ticar missed the game-winning goal on a breakaway and Nielsson Arcibal scored the 5-4 goal on the counter-attack to lead the Americans to their second win.

“It was a really exciting game to watch and to play,” said Rafael Rodriguez. “We came out with a lead and they fought back. In the end we got lucky with one of our most skilled players going to the net and he scored the goal.”

The U.S. built up a comfortable 3-0 lead after 18 minutes. Arcibal opened the scoring with a wrist shot at 11:18 and 25 seconds later Rodriguez scored the 2-0 goal on a breakaway. The Americans extended the lead at 5:19 of the second period with a power-play goal from Charles Yoder.

Rok Ticar cut the American lead at 8:14 of the second period when he deflected Domen Vedlin’s long distance shot from the side boards.

The third period was scoreless until Slovenia brought some more excitement with Vedlin’s goal three seconds before the end of the period.

26 seconds after the short intermission the Slovenes scored again as Matic Kralj tied the game.

Ales Remar even gained Slovenia’s first lead of the game at 4:37 of the fourth quarter, but with 3:21 left in regulation time Travis Noe capitalized on an American man advantage to tie the game – 4-4!

“After watching Slovenia play their first game we knew they were going to be good,” said Rodriguez. “They’re getting better year by year. We knew we couldn’t take them lightly and it showed off in the 5-4 game, but we prevailed.”

While approaching overtime, Slovenia had a huge chance to win the game with a breakaway 14 seconds before the end of regulation time, but Ticar missed on the opportunity.

The Americans made it better after winning the face-off in their own zone. The puck went to Arcibal, who skated on the left side towards the goal. Although he was blocked from skating to a more central position, nobody seemed be able to separate him from the puck and eventually he beat Slovenian goalie Gasper Kroselj with a shot from an acute angle with five seconds left on the game clock.

Czech Republic vs. Finland 4-8 (0-1, 2-2, 0-1, 2-4)

It was a tight game until early into the fourth quarter, but then the Czechs opened up and the Finns capitalized on their opportunities to earn an 8-4 victory.

Finland started well and Markus Jokinen took the lead at 8:55, but Jan Besser tied it up 58 seconds into the second period after a centering pass from Tomas Demel.

The teams exchange more goals in the second period. First it was Finland that regained the lead when Sami Markkanen skated past two Czech defencemen and Tommi Huhtala deflected his pass into the net.

At 8:03 the Czechs tied it again when Tomas Demel skated to the crease from behind the net to beat Finnish goalkeeper Juha Taponen with a wrist shot, but Markkanen got back the lead for Finland two minutes later.

Taking over a man advantage to the third quarter, the Finns capitalized on it after 30 seconds thanks to Markkanen’s slap shot.

Jakub Curik’s goal 32 seconds into the fourth period cut the deficit, but at 2:22 Lasse Lappalainen restored Finland’s two-goal lead. Standing backwards at the goal line, he turned around to shoot the puck past Czech goalie Roman Handl.

Two minutes later Kari Lohtander scored on a rebound to make it 6-3 for Finland. After 71 seconds Ludek Broz scored a power-play goal after a time-out to cut the lead, but Lohtander reacted with the 7-4 goal after deking goalie Handl two minutes later and Markkanen scored his hat trick goal with 2:13 left to play for the final score of 8-4.

Sweden vs. Great Britain 13-3 (3-2, 2-0, 5-1, 3-0)

After a great performance against the Czech Republic, newcomer Great Britain didn’t manage to keep up with Sweden, which won 13-3.

The British were only able to wreak havoc on the Swedish net for one period as they tied up the score twice before the yellow-and-blue team finished the opening period with a 3-2 lead.

After halftime it was already 5-2 and all five Swedish goals were scored by the dangerous duo of Dick Axelsson and Daniel Wessner.

“We were lucky in the beginning and scored our goals,” said Axelsson. “It was a good game to play for us. It was fun.”

Axelsson brought his team on the scoreboard after 21 seconds of play after a drop pass from Wessner, but Matt Viney tied it up four minutes later after Karl Niamatali had turned over the puck to him in the left face-off circle.

At 5:23 Wessner regained the lead for Sweden, but 38 seconds later it was 2-2. Robert Shelton hit the pads of Swedish goalie Sebastian Idoff, who seemed to get the puck under control, but the disc slid over the goal line.

Axelsson regained the lead before the end of the first period with a slap shot after a centering pass from Wessner. In the second period Wessner and Axelsson helped each other score one goal apiece to make it 5-2.

The direction didn’t change after the halftime break, only the names as also other Swedish players logged goals in what became a 13-3 victory. Axelsson led his team with four markers on his account; Wessner, Marcus Nilsson and Joakim Hagelin scored two apiece.

DIVISION I

Hungary vs. Japan 9-0 (3-0, 2-0, 0-0, 4-0)

Hungary confirmed its ambitions to play for Division I gold and swept Japan 9-0.

Capitalizing on a power play, Gergely Borbas opened the scoring already after two minutes of play and after one period the Hungarians extended the lead to three goals.

Zoltan Revak scored a hat trick while Borbas had two goals and four points.

Slovakia vs. Croatia 7-2 (2-1, 1-0, 2-0, 2-1)

Slovakia is 2-0 in Division I play on its mission to get promoted back to the Top Division after defeating Croatia 7-2.

It wasn’t an easy game though. The Croats outshot the Slovaks in the first two quarters of the game, but it was the Slovaks who capitalized on their chances.

Peter Sojcik and Filip Novak hit the back of the net in the first period, Mario Cunko tied it up in between.

After the first period the Slovaks extended the lead for a 7-2 win. Novak and Tomas Jasko scored a pair of goals.

Austria vs. New Zealand 9-6 (4-1, 2-0, 2-2, 1-3)

Same as yesterday against Japan, Austria had a strong start en route to another victory.

Although New Zealand’s Alexander Novak managed to tie the score at one after an early lead by the opponent, the Austrians went on to win the first period 4-1 and were leading 6-1 going to the halftime break.

The Kiwis cut the deficit in the fourth quarter, but didn’t manage to come closer than the final score of 9-6.

Defenceman Gerd Gruber had a hat trick and five points while Harry Lange and Gregor Baumgartner each scored a pair of goals.

Australia vs. Bulgaria 9-1 (0-0, 2-1, 2-0, 5-0)

Australia won its first game of the tournament, 9-1 against qualifier Bulgaria.

After a scoreless first period it was the Bulgarians who took the lead thanks to Martin Boyadjiev’s goal, but Australia dominated the game from the first to the last minute and didn’t have any problems to turn the tide.

Jordan Gavin tied it up two minutes later and Jonathon Bremner’s goal one second before the halftime break remained as the game-winner in what became a 9-1 victory.

Bremner and Sean Jones both scored a hat trick for the Australians.

MARTIN MERK
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