Gold Medal Game:
Sweden – Slovakia 7-3 (3-1, 2-0, 1-1, 1-1)
Sweden won its second straight gold medal at the InLine Hockey World Championship with a 7-3 win against host Slovakia. The silver medal still had a silver lining for the Slovaks as it was their first-ever medal at the annual event.
Sweden’s special teams made the difference in the win. Two power-play goals and one shorthanded tally in the first half allowed the Swede’s to build a 5-1 lead and gain breathing room in the game. Slovakia held the 1-0 lead early on, but glory was short-lived as five different Swedish players scored to make it a clear lead at the half.
The teams exchanged power-play goals in the third quarter as Slovakia couldn’t make up any ground on the Swedes. Daniel Wessner became the first Swede of the game to score twice, putting in the power-play tally with 1:56 left in the third quarter. Slovakia opened the fourth quarter by once again cutting the lead to three, but again, Sweden had the answer as Kristian Luukkonen scored his second goal of the game to make it a 7-3 affair. This time the four-goal lead stood with both teams staying scoreless through the final whistle.
Next year, the championship moves back to Germany where it will be held in Ingolstadt. In 2010, Sweden will host the event in Karlstad.
Bronze Medal Game:
United States – Germany 7-8 (3-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-2)
Germany earned its second consecutive bronze medal at the InLine Hockey World Championship after edging the United States, 8-7.
Marian Bazany was the German hero, netting the game-winning goal with 53 seconds left in the game.
It was a game of attack and counter-attack as the Americans jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first quarter only to have the Germans pull to within a goal by halftime. Pat Lee had two goals and an assist in the first half for the U.S. and finished the game with six points on four goals and two assists..
Germany owned the third quarter, taking its first lead of the game on the strength of three goals. Patrick Reimer pulled the Germans even at four and Thomas Greilinger scored the 5-4 goal, prompting the U.S. to pull goaltender Jamie Bufalino in favor of Kyle Mikel. The move momentarily worked as the U.S. evened the game at five soon after the change. But Greilinger struck again to give Germany the 6-5 lead.
The fourth quarter turned into a showdown between the teams’ stars as Pat Lee tied the game at six, only to have Reimer give Germany the lead once again. But again Lee was there for the U.S. to tie the game at seven in the see-saw contest. It looked like the game was headed to overtime until Bazany stepped up with the late game-winner. It closed a frustrating game for the Americans, which out-shot Germany 58-38. The U.S. has missed the medal podium for the last two years.
Gold Medal Game:
Canada – Great Britain 7-4 (1-0, 1-1, 2-3, 3-0)
In its comeback year, Canada won the Division I gold medal and earned a promotion up to the top division. The 7-4 victory over Great Britain gave Canada a place among the InLine elite next year. The last-place finisher from the top division, Austria is relegated.
While Canada never trailed in the game, the outcome wasn’t certain until the final quarter when the Canadians put in three unanswered goals to pull ahead for the 7-4 win. Until that point, the gold was up for grabs as Great Britain was able to match Canada goal-for-goal in the battle. David Hammond, who had four points in the game, scored the two first-half goals for Canada as his team took a slim 2-1 lead into halftime.
The second half started quick, with the teams combining for five goals. Canada climbed out to a 4-2 lead, but before the third quarter was over, Great Britain had closed the gap. It wasn’t until after the 40 minute mark that Canada was able to put the game out of reach as two late goals deflated Great Britain’s hopes for the gold medal.
For Canada, the Division I gold was an important step in re-establishing the nation on the InLine hockey scene. Meanwhile, Great Britain will look ahead to next year and try to join Canada in the top division.
Bronze Medal Game:
Australia – Brazil 3-4 (0-0, 0-1, 1-3, 2-0)
It might not have been gold like last year, but Brazil managed to end this year’s InLine Hockey World Championship on a high note by winning the bronze medal with a 4-3 win against Australia.
The game’s final looked more like an ice hockey final score with goals coming at a premium the entire match. It was only in the third quarter, which Brazil powered in three tallies that the game started to take the offensive tone of InLine hockey. The teams combined for four goals in four minutes in the surge, but Brazil came out on top of the surge with a 4-1 lead. Australia tried to work its way back in the game, scoring two last-game goals, including the second tally from Jordan Gavin, but the bronze bid fell short as Brazil skated on to the win. It was the second straight year Australia has lost the bronze medal game.
Best Goalkeeper: Sasu Hovi (FIN)
Best Defenseman: Lee Sweatt (USA)
Best Forward: Linus Klasen (SWE)
MVP: Dick Axelsson (SWE)
Best Goalkeeper: Derek Shybunka (CAN)
Best Defenseman: Luiz Almeida (BRA)
Best Forward: John Dolan (GBR)