“It’s a dream come true”

InLine: First gold for Czechs, Great Britain promoted

25.06.2011
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The Czech team celebrates its first-ever inline hockey world title in Pardubice. Photo: Ivana Hoskova

PARDUBICE – The 2011 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship ended with history. The Czechs won their first gold after edging Team USA 3-2, Canada won its first medal since 1999, and Great Britain was promoted.

Top Division: Gold Medal Game

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

The Czechs are the champions after defeating the United States at home in Pardubice 3-2 in the gold medal game.

It was a final-worthy clash with lots of skill, speed and physical play between the two best-performing teams of the tournament. The Czechs outshot a pesky U.S. team that never gave up 36-30.

The host nation was used to dominate its opponents and score early into the games in Pardubice, but the 6,000 fans at the CEZ Arena had to realize early that it was going to be a different story against Team USA. Although the Czechs enjoyed a 3-1 halftime lead, it became a nail-biter in the end.

“I’m extremely happy to win the World Championship, especially in my hometown of Pardubice,” Czech head coach Petr Hemsky said after the game.

“It was not just a bunch of individuals, but a great team that won the gold medal. I’m happy with the way my team played, and Roman Handl gave us much confidence in the net.”

Handl had again a strong showing. The former second-division ice hockey player turned into a professional inline hockey player and is under contract in Valladolid, where U.S. forwards Jose “Juniro” Cadiz and Itan Chavira were his team mates.

“It’s the greatest day in my life,” Handl said. “To win the gold medal in a World Championship, especially in Pardubice in our own country, is just fantastic. The crowd was really fantastic. They were our fifth skater here.”

It was another stellar performance that earned Handl the player-of-the-game prize and the award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper.

“The game was really tough for me. I got quite a lot of shots,” Handl said. “They got some power plays and they’re very good players and very good shooters. I had to be ready all the time.”

In the first few minutes it was the Americans, who controlled the game and had some rushes towards the Czech goal without being able to capitalize on them.

The first goal, however, came from the Czech side during a period the home team didn’t find a way through the American defence. When the Czechs passed the puck back in desperation, Team USA changed the line. Defenceman Tomas Demel reacted quickly on the risky line change and passed the puck to Martin Vozdecky at the red line.

The 33-year-old, who plays ice hockey for Sanok in the Polish league, rushed towards Troy Redmann’s net to defeat the American goaltender with a hard shot that went in slightly touching the netminder at 7:42.

The Americans were not without chances either. But few of them could scare Czech goalie Handl. With the biggest scoring opportunity Charles Yoder just hit the goalie’s upper body when receiving a pass in front of the net.

Early in the second period Vozdecky had another great chance when he received a drop pass after a great rush from Karel Rachunek, but this time Redmann was the winner.

On the other side the Americans had some good offensive action until Petr Tenkrat stopped Nathan Sigmund with a hooking penalty. The Americans needed 23 seconds to convert the man advantage into a goal when Chavira shot the puck behind Handl at 3:42.

“It was very hard for us because the Americans were very well organized,” Martin Koudelka said. “But we scored our goals during the game and that was the most important thing.”

The Czechs reacted quickly and capitalized on their first power play as well when Sigmund was sent out for hooking. Jiri Polansky sent off a shot towards the American net where Jan Besser deflected the puck with his skate.

The U.S. players protested, but as there was no kick movement, the goal was allowed. The Besser/Polansky duo that harmonized so well already in Friday’s semi-final was successful again, but it became even better for their team.

The Czechs had some more rushes, and they were able to bring lots of action in front of the American net with great passing. At 11:11 of the second period they eventually succeeded. Tenkrat passed the puck back to Koudelka. He fed Tomas Mojzis on the other side, who scored the 3-1 goal before the halftime break.

“It was a great game back and forth. Obviously we’re not at the end we wanted to be, but it was an unbelievable Czech team,” U.S. captain Yoder said.

“I’m a little bit disappointed, but we came back, we didn’t quit, so we will work harder for next year. The fans here were unreal. We never had anything like this. The city was unbelievable. We had a very good time and we appreciate everything.”

The third period seemed to end scoreless until the Americans capitalized on a man advantage with seven seconds left.

Chavira scored his second goal of the day with a perfect shot from the face-off circle into the top-left corner. The Americans also took the initiative in the fourth period and had another power play.

They tried hard to shoot the game-tying goal, but they couldn’t defeat Handl. On a breakaway attempt Tyler Walser hooked Tomas Demel with three minutes left, and the Czech man advantage didn’t make life easier for the Americans.

“They’re big and difficult and they skate well. They knew how to win and they did it,” Yoder said about the Czechs. “Normally we outskate many teams, but they skated better than in any other year.”

Team USA coach Robert Chornomud took his time-out with 54 seconds left to play in regulation time to start a final comeback attempt. Because Tomas Mojzis was sent to the penalty box and Redmann was pulled for an extra attacker, the Americans could play with five against three skaters for the remainder of the period, but they didn’t manage to overcome the Czech wall.

“It was just a great game. In the end two good teams came together, but one team had to lose,” Chornomud said. “They deserve the win, they worked hard. They’re probably the best European country. They acclimated to inline hockey with an ice hockey influence.”

While the game clock was counting the last seconds, the Czech players on the bench got ready to jump over and celebrate with their team mates when it was official that the Czech Republic became inline hockey world champion.

Top Division: Bronze Medal Game

Canada vs. Sweden 13-7 (1-2, 5-0, 5-3, 2-2) Game Sheet Photos

It was the kind of bronze medal games the “defence first” principle seemed to be out of the players’ heads as Canada defeated Sweden 13-7.

It’s the first medal for Canada since winning the 1999 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship.

Sweden had the better start into the game. After Adam Ross had scored the lead for Canada at 9:05, the Swedes made it 2-1 with two quick goals from Simon Olsson and Emil Bejmo before the end of the first period.

Canada came out stronger and was outplaying the Swedes in the second period. Thomas Woods had two goals to make it 3-2, both times on the power play. Swedish backup goalie Jonas Sparring, who got the start, seemed to be hurt and allowed two more goals by David Hammond and Jimmy Carter before being replaced by Sebastian Idoff.

The Canadians scored the four goals within three-and-a-half minutes and Hammond added another one for the 6-2 lead at halftime.

The rest of the game brought some more goals, especially for the Canadian side, before it ended with a 13-7 score and the bronze medals around the necks of the Canadian players.

Top Division: 7th-Place Game

Germany vs. Slovakia 9-0 (3-0, 4-0, 1-0, 1-0) Game Sheet Photos

A game for the seventh place was played that normally decides about relegation. Because Germany is already qualified for the Top Division as next year’s host, Slovakia was known as the relegated team in advance, but Germany also wanted to confirm its position on the court and blanked Slovakia 9-0.

Vitalij Aab, Florian Engel and Stefan Ortolf had two goals apiece. Henrik Holscher, Christian Wichert and Daniel Rossi scored the other goals in Germany’s first win.

Top Division Final Ranking

1. Czech Republic
2. USA
3. Canada
4. Sweden
5. Finland
6. Slovenia
7. Germany
8. Slovakia (relegated)

Individual awards as selected by the tournament directorate

Best Goalkeeper: Roman Handl, Czech Republic
Best Defenceman: Tomas Demel, Czech Republic
Best Forward: Jose Junior Cadiz, USA

Division I: Gold Medal Game

Great Britain vs. Hungary 3-2 (2-0, 1-2, 0-0, 0-0) Game Sheet Photos

Great Britain made it to the Top Division of the 2012 IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship. The Brits will play with the big boys for the first time next year in Ingolstadt after edging Hungary 3-2.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” said James Tanner, who was selected best goalkeeper of the tournament and best player of the British team. “For me it was seven years of making the gold medal. It kept us awake the whole night. It kept us awake the whole week.”

The British took the initiative from the first face-off and had several dangerous scoring opportunities until Jack Clarkson scored the first goal at 5:16 on a rebound. Five minutes later Nathan Finney had a great rush he concluded with the 2-0 goal for Great Britain.

At 2:19 the Brits continued to score when Kurt Waller capitalized on a power play for a comfortable 3-0 lead. Three minutes later Jack Clarkson hit the post, but then it was the Hungarians who suddenly bounced back with rebound goals from Gergely Borbas and David Szappanos to make it 3-2 before halftime.

“I think some of the players felt we could carry on the lead,” head coach Andrew Sillitoe said, “but you can’t do that and some guys were not sure enough to realize that, but we refocused. We put them under pressure and we stayed positive.”

The two second-period goals was the end of the Hungarian comeback attempt as the Brits continued to stay strong in the defence for the second half of the game.

After just eight seconds of play in the third period the Brits had a dangerous rush, but were prevented from scoring with a foul. Philip Hamer took the puck for the ensuing penalty shot, but it went wide the net.

The third period ended scoreless same as the fourth one, in which Hungarian goalkeeper Tamas Kiss was confronted with a second penalty shot, but he caught the puck after John Dolan’s shot.

Hungary was allowed only very few scoring opportunities while Tanner had another great day in the British net.

Now it’s time to party after the success, but some already imagine how it will be next year when Great Britain will be among the top eight nations for the first time.

“We have kept building and building the young team since 2004. We have a team now that’s young and experienced,” Sillitoe said.

“We’re all inline hockey players and know we’ll have to play against professional ice hockey player, who get money for that. So we have the challenge of staying in the Top Division.”


The Great Britain players celebrate with the gold medals after winning the Division I tournament. Photo: Ivana Hoskova

Division I: Bronze Medal Game

Australia vs. Austria 4-8 (2-2, 2-4, 0-2, 0-0) Game Sheet Photos

Austria won the Division I gold medals after a 8-4 win against Australia.

The difference between Austria and Australia was smaller on the rink than on the world map in the beginning.

Austria got the lead three times with goals from Gregor Baumgartner (2) and Axel Riegler in the first half of the game, but each time the Australians tied the score with markers from Adrian Nash, Dean Dunstan and Olivier Rozdarz.

It took until the second period that Austria was able to build up lead for longer when Lukas Draschkowitz, Mario Altmann and Christoph Draschkowitz scored goals for a 6-4 lead before the halftime break.

Australia made a goalkeeper change for the third period, but Christoph Draschkowitz scored two more goals in the third period for the final score of 8-4.

Division I Final Ranking

1. Great Britain (promoted)
2. Hungary
3. Austria
4. Australia
5. Croatia
6. Argentina (relegated)
7. New Zealand (relegated)
8. South Africa (relegated)

Individual awards as selected by the tournament directorate

Best Goalkeeper: James Tanner, Great Britain
Best Defenceman: Youssef Riener, Austria
Best Forward: John Dolan, Great Britain

MARTIN MERK

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