INGOLSTADT, Germany - Nearly all the favorites rolled at today's Inline Hockey World Championship setting up an exciting day of hockey for tomorrow as the 16 teams will battle for positioning the playoff round. Only Sweden faltered, losing a 9-8 game against the Czech Republic. Meanwhile in Division I, Brazil, Great Britain, Austria and Australia are looking to make it to Wednesday's crossover game.
United States – Canada 7-4 (2-1, 2-0, 0-0, 3-3)
In the battle of North American nations, the United States is king at the Inline Hockey World Championship after earning a 7-4 win against Canada.
It has been a decade since Canada played in the top division at the Inline Worlds. Back then, the North American giants were always meeting in the gold medal game and were the dominant nations. Today’s game showed that Canada still has another few steps to make before regaining its form of the late ‘90s, but they are definitely on the right track.
The U.S. did most of its work in the first half and cruised through the second. Troy Redmann scored just 45 seconds into action and USA veteran Ernie Hartlieb made it 2-0 five minutes later. Canada made good use of its first power-play quickly after the Hartleib goal, cutting the U.S. lead in half to close the first-quarter scoring.
The next 12 minutes was still all red, white and blue as the Americans dominated the offensive zone, out-shooting Canada 12-3 in the second quarter. Nathan Sigmund and James Beilstein scored, making it 4-1 at the half.
The Americans came out decidedly flat in the second half and couldn’t find their scoring touch. It wasn’t until Canada’s Adam Ross made it a two-goal game in the opening moments of the fourth quarter that the Americans hit the back of the net again when Charles Yoder scored the quick response tally to restore the three-goal lead.
The teams continued the see-saw exchange through the end of regulation with Canada always pulling to within two, but the Americans coming up with the answer. In the end, the early U.S. lead proved to be too much for the Canadians to overcome as they fell 7-4.
The Americans now have five points in two games, while Canada is winless in its two outings. The U.S. will take on Sweden tomorrow, while Canada faces the Czech Republic.
Sweden – Czech Republic 8-9 (2-2, 3-1, 2-4, 1-2)
The Czech Republic netted the first major upset at this year’s Inline Hockey World Championship after stunning defending champion Sweden with a last-minute goal in a 9-8 win.
Sweden had bad timing, getting whistled for a penalty in the last two minutes with the game tied at eight. Petr Tenkrat put in the game winner with nine seconds left in the power play and 43 seconds left in the game when he knocked in a rebound amid heavy traffic.
Before Tenkrat’s heroics, the game was a true back-and-forth battle. Sweden had the upper hand after the first half, holding a 5-3 lead thanks to a pair of goals from Daniel Wessner. Wessner made it a hat trick when he opened the second half scoring giving the Swedes their largest lead of the game.
But two minutes later, the Czechs mounted their comeback, putting in a pair of goals 46 seconds apart to cut the lead to 6-5. Linus Klasen gave the Swedes a little breathing space at the 32:20 mark with a goal, and 20 seconds later Czech goaltender Pavel Pavilek had to be replaced by Ondrej Jirkuv. But the goaltender change worked to the Czechs’ favor as they tied the game at seven with another quick pair of goals coming 19 seconds apart. Ludek Broz’s 7-7 goal came with one second left in the third quarter, prompting Sweden to replace goaltender Pontus Sjogren with Dennis Karlsson.
With both teams playing with their back-up goaltenders and the game tied at seven, the stage was set for the fourth-quarter showdown. Tomas Demel gave the Czechs their first lead of the game 1:39 into the quarter. Less than two minutes later, Henrik Hoglund put in the 8-8 goal. After the goal, things got chippy and Hoglund got put in the box for the deciding power-play goal.
The win gives the Czechs four points in their top division round robin group. They will play Canada, which has no points and is now certain to finish in last place and play in Wednesday’s crossover game regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s game against the Czechs and Canadians.
Sweden and USA will meet in the other game. Sweden now has three points and the Americans have five, meaning the top seed out of the group is up for grabs between the remaining three nations.
Slovakia – Finland 0-5 (0-3, 0-1, 0-1, 0-0)
Finland rebounded from yesterday’s lopsided loss against Germany and handed Slovakia a 5-0 defeat. Slovakia is now winless in two games and is in a must-win situation to avoid playing in Wednesday’s crossover game. Finland now has three points and is tied with Slovenia, its opponent tomorrow.
Finland made it clear that they wanted to atone for its sluggish start yesterday and came out of the gates quickly, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first half, netting three of the goals in the first ten minutes of action.
Finland gave the Slovaks few chances in the first half, holding a 30-12 shots advantage and playing stingy defense. The Finns were also extremely disciplined in the first half, getting whistled for only one penalty, compared to Slovakia’s seven. Despite the discrepancy, all of Finland’s first half goals were even strength.
Slovakia continued to get into penalty trouble in the second half, but luckily for the Slovaks, the Finnish power play wasn’t clicking. The Finns scored only one goal in the third quarter despite having five power play chances. Karo Koivunen scored the tally, his second goal of the game and Finland’s first power-play marker.
Sasu Hovi earned the shutout in net for Finland. It was the first shutout of the championship.
Australia – Chinese Taipei 18-3 (3-0, 7-1, 4-2, 4-0)
Yesterday, Australia needed a shootout to edge Japan at the Inline World Championship. No such drama was necessary for the Aussies today, who had no problem staying undefeated with an 18-3 drubbing against Chinese Taipei.
Australia broke the game open in the second quarter, scoring seven goals to climb ahead to a 10-1 lead at the half. After Stephen Belic put in the 5-1 goal 13:16 into the game, Chinese Taipei switched goaltenders, but it took only eight seconds for Yu-Cheng Liao to be welcomed to the game and another 15 seconds for him to surrender his second goal. From there, Australia dominated, out-shooting Taipei, 30-10 in the first 24 minutes alone.
Much like yesterday, Chinese Taipei put up a valiant effort, but they were outmatched by the bigger, faster and more skilled Australian team. Credit has to go to Taipei, which despite their shortcomings, still managed to put in three goals. Wei-Ting Chang, Yen-Chin Shen and Hung-Hsuan Chou were the scorers. On the Australian side Sean Jones paced the team with three goals and four assists.
Chinese Taipei is winless in its first two games, surrendering 37 goals. Australia is in good position to play in Wednesday’s crossover game with five points in two games. The two top teams from Division I will play the two bottom teams from the top division on Wednesday to earn a chance to join the top level. A win for the Aussies tomorrow against Austria, would give them a spot in the crossover.
Brazil – South Africa 5-3 (3-1, 1-1, 1-1, 0-0)
Brazil is looking more and more like the team to beat in Division I after putting in another steady effort in a 5-3 win against South Africa.
Brazil doesn’t do anything fancy on the rink, but plays a solid 48 minutes, chipping away at its opponents. Today a three-goal first quarter set the tone for the Brazilians. South Africa held an early 1-0 lead after getting a power-play goal, but it was the only time they challenged as Brazil put in three straight, paced by Bruno Gomes, who netted two of the three goals.
Gomes completed the hat trick to open the second quarter, giving Brazil its largest lead of the game with a 4-1 advantage. South Africa closed the gap to two at the 20:40 mark and then struck again to open the second half scoring making it a 4-3 game and causing some tense moments for Brazil, but 1:30 later Diego Araujo restored order with a slapshot that gave Brazil the 5-3 lead. The score stood through the final buzzer.
Brazil now leads its round robin group with six points and will earn a place in Wednesday’s crossover game with a win against Great Britain tomorrow. South Africa is winless in two games and takes on Hungary tomorrow.
Austria – Japan 8-1 (2-1, 0-0, 4-0, 2-0)
Austria’s quest to make the quick return to the top division at the Inline Hockey World Championship just came one step closer after skating to an 8-1 win against Japan.
It wasn’t until the second half that the Austrians came to life, netting four goals in a five-minute span to break the game open. Until the spurt, the Austrians were struggling to put away the fast and persistent Japanese team.
Taku Kanatani gave Japan the surprise 1-0 lead 6:34 into the game. Austria struck back with a pair of goals two minutes apart to take the 2-1 lead. Most expected the Austrians to take control at that point, but instead, Japan held the Austrians scoreless for nearly 20 minutes until Stefan Ulmer put in the 3-1 goal. Mario Altmann, Martin Grabher-Meier and Harry Lange followed up to make it a 6-1 lead by the end of the third quarter.
Mark Brunegger slammed in the 7-1 goal to open the fourth on an odd man rush. From there, the outcome was clear for both teams, Grabher-Meier put in his second goal and Austria skated on to the 8-1 win.
Austria will take on Australia tomorrow for the right to play in Wednesday’s crossover game against the bottom team from the top division. The winner of the crossover game continues the championship with the top division, while the loser goes to Division I for the rest of the event. Japan has one point in two games and will take on winless Chinese Taipei tomorrow.
Great Britain – Hungary 10-4 (2-1, 3-0, 1-3, 4-0)
Great Britain remained unbeaten at this year’s Inline Worlds with a 10-4 win against Hungary. The win sets up a duel between Great Britain and Brazil for first place in the preliminary round group and right to play in Wednesday’s crossover game.
Great Britain had little resistance in the first half, climbing out to a 5-1 lead. Hungary’s lone goal of the half came on the power play from Tamas Lencses 6:24 into action. While on the other side, five different British players scored in the assault.
Hungary had a strong start to the second half scoring two goals to cut the lead in half. The teams exchanges goals 42 seconds apart in the 33rd minute, making it a 6-4 Great Britain advantage going into the fourth quarter.
A pair of special teams goals sealed the win for Great Britain. Philip Hamer scored on the power play and Kris Hehir put in a shorthanded goal to give Britain an 8-4 lead. Another pair of late goals brought the final to 10-4.
Hungary and South Africa will face off in the other group game tomorrow, but all eyes will be on the Great Britain – Brazil match-up to see who will earn the chance to play on Wednesday.