Czechs, USA cheer again

InLine: USA-SLO 4-2, CZE-FIN 9-2, SWE-GER 9-7, CAN-SVK 6-3

20.06.2011
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The Czechs cheer again. The host nation scored 18 goals in two days to underline its medal ambitions. Photo: Malvina Ministrova

PARDUBICE – The Czech Republic continues to impress its crowd with a 9-2 victory against Finland at the 2011 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship. Team USA remains undefeated too after edging Slovenia 4-2. Canada and Sweden bounced back after opening-day losses.

Top Division

Group A: 1. USA 6, 2. Slovenia 3, 3. Canada 3, 4. Slovakia 0.

Group B: 1. Czech Republic 6, 2. Finland 3, 3. Sweden 3, 4. Germany 0.

USA vs. Slovenia 4-2 (0-1, 3-0, 1-1, 0-0) Game Sheet Photos

Slovenia continues to be the dark horse of the Top Division after edging Canada 6-4 on the opening day. The Slovenes also proved to be a tough nut to crack for reigning champion USA, but the Americans eventually rallied to a 4-2 win thanks to a strong second period.

In an offensive game with two strong goalkeepers the Americans outshot the Slovenes 13-11 in the first period, but Domen Vedlin scored the only goal with 21 seconds left in the period after his Slovenian team had killed off an American power play.

Team USA took the reins in the second period. Jose Junior Cadiz tied the game at 1:28, and 41 seconds later Anthony Miner gained the lead with another American marker. Cadiz opened up the gap with his second goal ten seconds before the halftime buzzer.

Slovenia came back after two minutes when Vedlin capitalized on a power play for his second goal of the night, but at 4:53 of the third period Nathan Sigmund restored the two-goal lead.

“We came out a little flat. We’re missing a couple of guys and had a rough start, but in the second period I got used to the line and we scored the goals for the win,” Cadiz said.

The game continued with a more active Slovenian team and three straight penalty calls against Team USA, but Slovenia didn’t capitalize on its chances, even not during a two-man advantage early in the fourth period.

Slovenian head coach Rok Rojsek took his time out with 56 seconds left to pull goalkeeper Gasper Kroselj for an extra attacker, but the 4-2 score remained on the scoreboard to give the U.S. another three points on their title-defence campaign.

Czech Republic vs. Finland 9-2 (3-1, 1-0, 3-1, 2-0) Game Sheet Photos

In a clash between two high-scoring teams from Day 1 the Czechs had another compelling performance in front of their home crowd in Pardubice, defeating Finland 9-2.

Jan Besser and Petr Tenkrat scored the first two Czech goals after just four minutes and the home side opened the gap especially in the third period with three more goals.

The Finns never had the chance to stage a comeback and they were outplayed on many occasions against the offensive firework of the home team.

Ludek Broz scored a hat trick while Petr Tenkrat and Jiri Polansky had two goals each.

“It was a great game. We started really well and we enjoy playing in front of our crowd and entertaining the fans,” Polansky said.

Indeed, the Czechs didn’t give Finland the chance for a well-balanced game as it happened in other games at this tournament.

It was disillusion for the Finns after their surprising win against archrival Sweden the day before.

“They gave us a lesson in scoring goals,” Finnish coach Nemo Nokkosmäki said. “We didn’t make the quality shots. We made the Czech goalie look too good. We have good skaters and inline players, but we need to be more aggressive. We have to learn our lesson and focus on tomorrow’s game. I trust my team.”

The Czechs meanwhile can think of the quarter-finals soon.

“We would like to play Slovakia,” Polansky said. “Not only because of the rivalry, but I think they would be the best team to play against from our perspective.”

Sweden vs. Germany 9-7 (1-1, 4-2, 1-3, 3-1) Game Sheet Photos

In a game that went back and forth Sweden won its first three points against Germany.

“We know that the Swedes are a world-class team. We played better than yesterday, but maybe we showed too much respect for the Swedes,” Germany forward Boris Blank said.

After the first period had ended with one goal each, the Swedes seemed to easily rally to a win in the second period. Two times Carl Berglund, Daniel Brolin and Henrik Höglund with his second goal after the opening marker brought Sweden a 5-2 lead after 17 minutes of play while Germany’s Christian Wichert scored in between.

Sweden scored its four second-period goals within a span of three-and-a-half minutes, forcing the second goalkeeper change of Germany in two days. Thomas Ower went out, Jochen Vollmer in and the teammates in front of him started to become ready for a reaction on the other end.

Germany turned the game and was leading 6-5 after two goals from Daniel Menge and one each from Vitalij Aab and Thomas Greilinger.

Berglund tied it at six with his third goal, but in the fourth quarter Blank regained the lead for the Germans with 6:38 left in regulation time.

The Swedes reacted with Brolin’s game-tying goal two minutes later. With 3:36 left on the clock Simon Olsson even scored the 8-7 goal for Sweden.

“In the end we lost the game due to individual mistakes,” Blank said. “We played too passively again and basically invited them to score goals. It’s annoying. It shouldn’t happen.”

Germany took a time-out and pulled the goalkeeper in the last minute, but the game ended with Brolin scoring his third goal with the final buzzer into the empty net for a 9-7 win that brings Sweden its first three points.

Canada vs. Slovakia 6-3 (1-2, 2-0, 2-0, 1-1) Game Sheet Photos

Canada earned its first win on the second day of the 2011 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship in a hard-fought 6-3 victory over Slovakia. Six of the nine goals were scored on the power play.

Max Grassi and Adam Ross for Canada and Martin Klucar for Slovakia accounted for two goals each.

“I feel really good after winning this game. The first win is important to gain confidence in a tournament like this,” Ross said.

“Yesterday we did some things we were not happy with, but the more you play with the team, the more you get to know all the guys. Today we played smarter and we played more a Canadian style of game. I was lucky enough to get at a good position on the power play and on the power play you always get the chance to score.”

After losing to Slovenia, the Canadians wanted to do it better against Slovakia. And they did. After 44 seconds the Canadians had their first power play and after one minute Grassi capitalized on it for the early lead.

The Slovaks tried to react and they were given a power-play opportunity themselves, which they used for a goal as well one-and-a-half minutes later when Miroslav Kristin tied it up with a long-range shot. At 10:13 the Slovaks even gained the lead with a goal from Klucar.

Canada bounced back in the second period. A penalty call against the Slovaks was taken over and Ross scored on the power play at 1:02. At 10:57 of the second period the Canadians regained the lead with a quick attack that concluded with a goal from Kirk French.

The Canadians continued to be the more efficient team especially on the power play. At 6:35 of the third period Ross netted his second goal. 29 seconds later Dylan Nowakowski scored the 5-2 marker, forcing the Slovaks to use the time-out.

Klucar narrowed the gap when he scored his second goal, but with less than two minutes left to play the Slovak reaction came too late. Grassi added his second goal of the day for the 6-3 score in the last minute.

Division I

Group C: 1. Great Britain 6, 2. Austria 3, 3. Australia 3, 4. South Africa 0.

Group D: 1. Croatia 6, 2. Hungary 6, 3. New Zealand 0, 4. Argentina 0.

Croatia vs. Argentina 7-1 (2-0, 3-0, 2-1, 0-0) Game Sheet Photos

Last year’s Division I finalist Croatia had another easy win in this year’s tournament, defeating Argentina 7-1.

The win can be credited especially to the young Cunko brothers, who also play for the ice hockey national team. Tomislav, 25, scored three goals and Mario, 20, two. The other goals came from Tomislav Grozaj and Matija Kopajtic.

Argentina, which jumped in for Japan as “lucky looser” following last year’s relegation, faces less problems in keeping up with the European teams than last year, but Croatia was simply too strong. Rodrigo Irisarri scored Argentina’s consolation goal in the third period.

Austria vs. Great Britain 3-7 (0-1, 1-3, 1-0, 1-3) Game Sheet Photos

In a game between two Division I favourites Great Britain came out on top, defeating Austria 7-3.

The Brits were leading 4-0 after 22 minutes with goals from John Dolan (2), Philip Hamer and Karl Niamatali.

During this time goalkeeper James Tanner kept his net clean against an Austrian squad that couldn’t capitalize on three power plays.

The Austrians came closer when Christoph Draschkowitz cut the lead at the end of the second period. Gregor Baumgartner scored the lone goal of the third period and ten seconds into the fourth stanza Andre Niec scored a shorthander to make it 4-3.

In the end Team Great Britain prevailed. Richard Walsh made use of the power play 50 seconds later, and Alex Pearman and Daniel Hutchinson added two more goals for a 7-3 win.

Hungary vs. New Zealand 5-4 (0-1, 0-0, 2-1, 3-2) Game Sheet Photos

Hungary faced tougher challenge than expected against qualifier New Zealand in a 5-4 victory.

Defenceman James Trevena-Brown orchestrated a 2-0 lead for the underdogs after 25 minutes of play while goalkeeper Michael Coleman had a clean vest after the first half of the game despite 21 shots on his goal.

After being two goal behind, however, the Hungarians managed to come back. David Szappanos and Akos Kiss tied it up in the third period before Hungary prevailed in the fourth span.

Trevena-Brown completed a hat trick before the end, but Hungary won 5-4 thanks to Attila Orban’s game-winning goal with 77 seconds left in regulation time.

Australia vs. South Africa 11-3 (1-0, 3-0, 4-1, 3-2) Game Sheet Photos

In a clash between teams from the southern hemisphere the Australians had the better start against South Africa. After scoring chances at both ends it was Olivier Rozdarz who opened the scoring for Down Under at the end of the first period.

Early into the second period Australia had its first man advantage which came to an end with Dean Dunstan’s 2-0 goal at 2:21. Less than a minute later Dunstan scored his second goal with a wrist shot into the top-right corner. At 10:54 the Australians decided the game with an extra attacker following another penalty call against South Africa and a goal from Daniel Bourke.

The Australians continued their goal galore especially in the third period, winning the game 11-3.

MARTIN MERK

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