Canada no. 1 on inline skates

First inline gold in 14 years, Finns get bronze, Slovakia back


Team Canada poses for the team photo after winning the first IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship in 14 years. Photo: Jürgen Meyer /

INGOLSTADT – Canada won its first IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship in 14 years after defeating Germany 9-5 in the final. Finland claimed the bronze against Slovenia while Slovakia earned promotion against Hungary to replace Great Britain in the Top Division.

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TOP DIVISION – Gold Medal Game

Canada vs. Germany 9-5 (3-1, 2-1, 3-3, 1-0)

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For the second time, and for the first time since 1998, Canada won the gold medals at the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship after defeating Germany on the opponent’s soil in Ingolstadt 9-5.

Max Grassi continued his scoring streak with four goals and five points. Thomas Woods had a hat trick and four points.

“You always think about winning a gold medal, but when you actually do it, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in my life and I’m sure it’s the same for lots of guys in this room,” Grassi said with the gold medal around his neck.

“I had so much energy, so much excitement to play in this game. You know how to do it and it came all together tonight. I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates, who gave me passes and helped me out.”

Germany tried hard to compete and outshot their rival 40-27, but the Canadians were simply more dangerous in the offensive zone.

“We just wanted it more from the beginning,” Woods said about the reasons for the strong performance on the last day. “We said the chips are in line for us and we had a favourable way through the tournament. We said we would do anything to win this final game and we did. The guys stepped up with Max and me both putting the pucks in the net.”

The 4,575 fans in the sold-out Saturn Arena were enthusiastic, but Grassi silenced the crowd for a moment when scoring on a breakaway after just 37 seconds of play.

At 7:15 the Canadian players were cheering again as Woods capitalized on a power play with a shot from the far end of the face-off circle. One-and-a-half minutes later it was Josh Foote, who outskated the German defence before beating German goalkeeper Jochen Vollmer.

Thomas Greilinger brought back hope one minute later when he hammered the puck in from the face-off circle on Germany’s first man advantage.

The Germans attempted to come back, but at 7:26 of the second period it got worse for the host nation when Dave Hammond sent off a diagonal pass to the crease, which Woods converted for the 4-1 goal. But at 8:56 Michael Wolf scored Germany’s second power-play goal with a slap shot.

The local fans had reason to dream again about a comeback win, but with five seconds left before the half-time break, Grassi skated around German defenceman Patrick Seifert to beat Vollmer for the 5-2 goal.

The teams recovered in the intermission, but the direction didn’t change after. At 2:05 of the third period the Canadians extended the lead with Hammond’s goal, but 40 seconds later Patrick Buzas replied for the Germans.

At 4:47 Germany scored again when Felix Schütz converted a pass from behind the net for the 6-4 goal. And at 6:25 the fans celebrated another goal when Wolf capitalized on a rebound, but only eight seconds later Grassi restored Canada’s two-goal lead. With 54 seconds left in the third period Woods made it 8-5 by beating Vollmer with a shot to the near side of the net.

“Both teams had a lot of energy. Both teams had a long way to get here,” said Grassi. “It just came down to sticking together as a team and sticking to our game. They made it close for a while. We got worried, but we stuck to our game and it worked out well.”

Grassi escaped in the fourth period to score his fourth goal as Canada’s world title was coming closer and closer while the fans were celebrating their team and the exciting game with chants all around the arena.

It remained 9-5 for Canada and the players started their loud celebration for Canada’s first inline hockey world title in 14 years.

“It’s indescribable. I’ve never felt this feeling,” said Woods. “I played four years with probably half of the team. The combination of our hard work and everything in the off-season, like finding sponsors, paying for our trips. It’s unbelievable, I can’t even describe it.”

Germany lost the game, but won its first ever silver medals in inline hockey. It was a great accomplishment by Canada, but also for the runner-up, which will host the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship again next year, in Dresden.

TOP DIVISION – Individual Awards

Best Goalkeeper: Jochen Vollmer, Germany
Best Defenceman: Sami Markkanen, Finland
Best Forward: Martin Vozdecky, Czech Republic

TOP DIVISION – Bronze Medal Game

Finland vs. Slovenia 9-4 (2-1, 3-1, 2-0, 2-2)

Click here for the highlights of the game.

Finland won its first medal in inline hockey since 2007 after defeating Slovenia 9-4 in a heated bronze medal game.

Slovenia’s Matic Podlipnik was the first to score a goal at 3:30, but the Finns reacted and built up the score in the 20 minutes that followed.

Teemu Suhonen tied it up after one minute after a pass from Sami Markkanen, and 19 seconds later Juho Joki-Erkkila brought Finland the lead.

Finland scored three more unanswered goals in the second period. At 3:59 Jesse Saarinen made it 3-1 after a pass from the other side and 41 seconds later Tommi Huhtala deked Slovenian goalie Gasper Kroselj to extend the lead.

At 9:52 Kristian Kuusela scored after a pass from behind the net from Ossi Pellinen.

With 36 seconds left before half-time, Ales Remar capitalized on a power play, but the three-goal deficit after two periods proved to be too high.

Finland continued its massive attack in the third period with Pellinen and Huhtala extending the lead. Huhtala’s hat trick goal and Lasse Lappalainen made it a seven-goal gap before Domen Vedlin and Podlipnik scored two Slovenian goals for the final 9-4 score.

TOP DIVISION – Relegation Game

Sweden vs. Great Britain 7-2 (1-0, 2-0, 3-2, 1-0)

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Sweden came to win inline gold, but had to play against the relegation threat. After three straight losses the Swedes fulfilled their last task and defeated Great Britain 7-2 to send the British down to Division I.

The Swedes were clearly the better team and built up a 3-0 lead before the half-time break to extend it in the second half of the game.

Marcus Nilsson scored a hat trick for Tre Kronor and Carl Berglund netted two goals. The other markers came from Dick Axelsson and Pontus Larsson.

DIVISION I – Gold Medal Game

Slovakia vs. Hungary 5-4 (1-1, 4-1, 0-2, 0-0)

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Slovakia won a tight gold medal clash for the Division I title and promotion to next year’s Top Division, 5-4 against Hungary.

The Slovaks decided the game thanks to a strong second period they won 4-1.

“It’s fantastic. It was our goal and we were the best team over the course of tournament,” said Slovak forward Filip Novak. “It was a little bit tight in the end, but that’s hockey.”

Marcel Holovic opened the scoring in the first period, but Attila Rafaj replied for Hungary.

In the second period Tomas Jasko regained the lead after only 14 seconds with a high shot from the face-off dot. Roman Simunek made it 3-1 two minutes later and at 3:05 Juraj Prokop scored after receiving a centering pass.

Arnold Feil scored for Hungary at 5:55, but at 9:32 Novak restored the three-goal lead for Slovakia on a man advantage.

Hungary changed goalkeepers after the half-time break, and Tamas Lencses converted a man advantage taken over from the second period to cut the lead.

At 9:22 of the third period Attila Orban capitalized a breakaway for the 5-4 goal. There were almost 15 minutes left for Hungary to tie the score and the Magyars tried hard, but Slovak goalkeeper Roman Hrusovsky kept his net clean for the remainder of the game.

For Slovakia it will be a quick return to the Top Division after having been relegated one year ago.

DIVISION I – Bronze Medal Game

Austria vs. Croatia 7-6 (1-3, 3-1, 1-1, 1-1, 1-0) OT

Austria secured the Division I bronze medals in a 7-6 overtime win over Croatia.

For the Croats it was a tough loss as they outshoot Germany 47-37 and blew a two-goal lead.

Austria took the lead for the first time in the fourth period when Harry Lange made it 6-5 at 6:22, but Marko Lovrencic tied it with 53 seconds left in regulation time.

The Croats were weakened by a tripping minor against Tomislav Cunko with 20 seconds left in regulation time. Austria almost played the entire extra period with a man advantage and ten seconds after the penalty had expired, Philipp Winzig scored the game-winning goal.

DIVISION I – 5th-Place Game

Australia vs. Japan 7-3 (1-0, 2-1, 2-1, 2-1)

One day after both Australia and Japan managed to maintain in Division I the teams met for a fifth-place game.

The Australians succeeded and won each of the four periods for the final score of 7-3. Jonathon Bremner and Jordan Gavin each scored a hat trick.

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