INGOLSTADT, Germany - Another Inline Hockey World Championship is in the books. Sweden took home its third straight title, beating the U.S., 7-6. Host Germany earned the top division bronze, beating Finland. In Division I, Austria edged Great Britain for the title, while Brazil beat Hungary for bronze.
Top Division Gold Medal Game
United States – Sweden 6-7 (2-2, 0-2, 3-0, 1-3)
Sweden made it three in a row at the Inline Hockey World Championship, downing the United States 7-6 in the gold medal game. The title was Sweden’s fifth-ever at the event. For the Americans the silver medal marks a return to the Inline podium for the first time since 2006.
Trailing by one with just over three minutes left in regulation, Sweden put in a pair of goals coming 30 seconds apart to take home the 7-6 win.
The United States was Sweden’s echo in the first half. Each time the Swedes would score, the U.S. would have the quick answer. Daniel Wessner opened the scoring for Sweden 45 seconds into action and Brian Yingling from the U.S. tied things up three minutes later. The teams exchanged another pair of goals 55 seconds apart to close the first quarter locked at two.
Sweden took a 3-2 lead 2:44 into the second quarter on an odd-man rush as Linus Klasen fed Andreas Svensson the puck in the slot. The Swedish lead doubled on a goal off the face-off, giving Sweden a 4-2 advantage at the break
USA mainstay Ernie Hartlieb opened the second-half scoring at the 4:39 mark with a power-play goal, bringing the Americans back to within one. The Americans tied the game two minutes later when Hartlieb streaked down the ice for the quick 4-4 goal. Swedish goaltender Dennis Karlsson was shaken up on the play just before the goal was scored.
USA continued to roll, scoring their first go-ahead goal on virtually the same play as the game-tying goal when Walter Sweatt put in his second of the game. The marker prompted Sweden to pull Karlsson in favor of Pontus Sjogren.
Sjogren put a halt to the U.S. surge, allowing Sweden to get back to work on offense. Five minutes into the fourth quarter Sweden got the game-tying goal when Dick Axelsson scored from between the slot. But much like in the first quarter, USA’s Yingling had a quick reply, giving the Americans a 6-5 lead.
Sweden bounced back strong after a timeout, netting the tying goal when Martin Thelander put in the diving effort. The Swedes followed up, taking their first lead of the half when Klasen scored the game-winner.
As has become the tradition at this year's championship, the Swedes lined up on the blue line and sung their national anthem rather than allowing the arena D.J. to play the song. The display brought a hearty round of applause from the crowd as they saluted the new Inline world champions.
Next year’s Inline Hockey World Championship will be played in Sweden for the first time ever. The city of Karlstad will host the event.
Top Division Bronze Medal Game
Finland – Germany 5-9 (2-4, 2-1, 0-1, 1-3)
Germany took home its third bronze medal in the last three years at the Inline World Championship after beating Finland, 9-5. For Germany, the bronze was a silver lining finish after a disappointing semi-final loss against Sweden yesterday.
The fans in Ingolstadt have supported the German team throughout the championship and this sunny day was no different as more than 2,000 fans came indoors on a perfect afternoon to cheer their team on to the bronze.
The first half was a festival of equal strength goals as the teams combined for nine markers. Germany’s Henrik Holscher and Finland’s Karo Koivinen scored twice for their squads in the offensive half. Finland took a 2-1 lead just over six minutes into the game, but it would be the only lead the Nordic nation would hold.
Germany put in three straight goals in a three-minute span to swing the game to a 4-2 advantage. From there, the game was packed with end-to-end action as the two teams picked up the pace and treated the fans to a game of speed. The teams continued to exchange goals with Finland’s Aki Tuominen putting in the final tally of the quarter to pull his team to within one at the half.
Michael Wolf scored the only goal of the third quarter, giving Germany a 6-4 lead. But things remained tense in the arena as everyone was anticipating a Finnish comeback. Sure enough, 3:35 into the fourth quarter Mikko Liukkonen scored on the power play to pull Finland to within one.
But it would be as close as the Finns would come in their bid to get back to the medal podium. A trio of goals from the Germans in the last four minutes sealed the bronze medal for the home team. Wolf closed the scoring with a empty netter to close the scoring, bringing the fans to their feet.
Finland has now missed the podium for the last two seasons after a streak of eight straight medal finishes.
Division I Gold Medal Game:
Austria – Great Britain 2-1 (0-0, 2-0, 0-0, 0-1)
Austria is back among the elite eight nations after winning the gold medal in Division I at the Inline Hockey World Championship with a hard 2-1 win against Great Britain.
It was a defensive effort for the Austrians, who clung onto a slim 2-0 lead for much of the game. Alexander Feichtner and Christian Dolezal scored the two goals 1:15 apart 16 minutes into action to get the Austrians on the board.
The lead held until early in the fourth quarter when Philip Hamer made it a 2-1 affair. Britain challenged Austria after the marker, and even pulled goalie James Tanner for the extra skater late in the game, but they couldn’t get the equalizer as Austria hung on for the close victory.
The medal is Austria’s first-ever at the Inline Worlds, albeit at the Division I level. It is the second straight silver medal for Great Britain, which lost against Canada in last year’s final.
Division I Bronze Medal Game:
Brazil – Hungary 4-3 (0-2, 2-0, 1-1, 1-0)
Brazil took home its fourth straight medal at the Division I Inline Hockey World Championship after winning bronze with a 4-3 victory against Hungary.
Pedro Andrade scored from the slot with 1:42 left in the game to break a 3-3 stalemate and lift his team to the win. After the goal Andrade was tackled by his teammates, who opted for a soccer-like celebration.
Brazil, which was the fan darling of Division I, trailed 2-0 early after Hungary put in two markers in the first 2:14 of the game. But Brazil bounced back from the rocky start and had the game tied at two by halftime. The teams exchanged third quarter goals, tying the game at three heading into the fourth quarter.
When the final buzzer sounded it was hugs all around for the Brazilian team, which was genuinely excited to take home the bronze medal. The nation now has three bronze medals and one gold in their four-year medal run. Hungary has not won a medal in the last two seasons.