Top Division Gold Medal
Czech Republic – United States 3-4 (1-1, 0-1, 1-1, 1-1)
The U.S. won its first gold medal at the Inline Hockey World Championship since 2006 after earning a hard-fought 4-3 win against the Czech Republic.
The gold medal redeems the silver medal finish from last year and is the American’s fifth gold in total at the Inline Worlds. For the Czechs, the silver is a vast improvement from last year’s sixth-place finish. The silver was the first medal for the nation since 2001 and only the third total medal.
"I couldn't be happier with the way the team played," said U.S. head coach Robert Chronomud. "It was our first tight game of the championship. The Czechs really played us tight, but we stuck to our game plan."
Kyle Kraemer has been the go-to guy for the Americans, so it came as no surprise that he provided the offensive spark in the low-scoring first half. Kraemer opened the scoring quickly, striking just 3:45 into the game, but the high-energy Czechs had the answer less than a minute later. The back-and-forth would be the theme for the rest of the game as the teams matched each other in virtually evey way, although the U.S. had the edge in puck possession.
Kraemer netted his second goal of the game, and his 11th of the championship, midway through the second quarter and the 2-1 lead stood through halftime, but again the Czechs had the answer when they emerged for the second half when Patrik Sebek put in the 2-2 equalizer.
The U.S. took the lead yet again when Patrick Maroon flipped in a back-handed shot. The duel continued when Jiri Polansky tipped in a slap shot in the opening moments of the fourth quarter for to tie the game at three.
Sean Gawrys put an end to the tug of war when he tapped in the tic-tac-toe pass from Patrick Maroon and Charles Yoder. The score gave the Americans their fourth lead of the game, but this one proved to be the most important as it held through the final buzzer.
"After the silver last year, this feels great," said Chornomud. "We were so close against the Swedes and then gave it away late in the game. We've been planning for this moment for a year and I couldn't be more pleased with how it played out."
The Americans now have 11 total medals at the Inline World Championship, which leads all nations.
Top Division Bronze Medal
Canada – Sweden 5-6 (0-3, 2-1, 1-2, 3-1)
Sweden earned its ninth straight medal at the Inline Hockey World Championship after netting a 6-5 win against Canada in the bronze medal game. The medal is a slight downgrade from the three straight golds for the Swedes, but nevertheless, they still own the longest medal streak of any nation at the event.
Canada never led during the 48-minute game, but was constantly nipping at Sweden’s heels. With 30 seconds left in regulation, David Hammond pulled the Canadians to within one with a well-placed wrist shot, but it would be as close as the Canadians would come as Sweden held off the late Canadian attack and got the 6-5 win.
Early on, it looked like the game would be a rout after Sweden jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of action. Dick Axelsson put in his tournament-leading 14th goal in the early surge.
But Canada didn’t fold after falling behind. Thomas Woods put in the clean power-play goal, which was followed 37 seconds later by Kye Benjaminsen’s 3-2 marker. Sweden’s Magnus Nygren closed out the first half scoring with his team’s second power-play goal to give Sweden a two-goal pad at the half.
Andreas Svensson was the difference for the Swedes in the second half. He netted two breakout goals in the back-and-forth third quarter to help Sweden maintain its lead. Canada played well in the third quarter, hitting two posts, but it only netted one goal, a one-time by Terry Christopher to make it a 6-3 affair going into the final 12 minutes.
Hammond scored twice in the fourth quarter, but his efforts were to no avail. Even with the goalie pulled, and up a man on the power-play, the Canadians couldn’t get the tying goal in the waning moments of the game. Still, the silver lining is that the fourth-place finish is the best for Canada since they re-joined the Inline Worlds in 2008.
Sweden’s medal haul in the last decade includes five golds, two silvers and three bronze medals, an impressive total for the host nation.
1. United States
2. Czech Republic