Americans say Noe to Sweden

Inline: Team USA wins 6th world title; Canada takes bronze


Team USA celebrates the first gold in inline hockey since 2010 after beating Sweden in the final game. Photo: Hans Oelschlägel

DRESDEN – The United States became the first team to win the IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship for a sixth time when Team USA beat Sweden 6-3 in the final. Canada defeated Slovakia 5-1 for the bronze. Slovenia is relegated and will be replaced by Great Britain.

Top Division

Gold Medal Game

USA vs. Sweden 6-3 (1-1, 0-1, 2-0, 3-1) Video

The United States won their first IIHF InLine Hockey World Championship gold since 2010. They are now the undisputed record-holder with six world titles after defeating Sweden 6-3 in the final. Travis Noe scored a hat trick for the Americans.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s all I’ve dreamed about. I’ve played inline hockey my whole life and that’s the highest thing you can get in inline hockey. I can’t believe we actually won,” said Noe, who won the award for the Best Forward.

“I think we wanted it more and our speed decided too. We were a hungry team. We had a really good group of guys who two weeks ago came together and found the way to win this gold medal.”

Sweden had a 2-1 halftime lead but the Americans created more scoring opportunities and came back in the second half of a fast-pace game played with discipline from both sides. The U.S. outshot Sweden 36-31 throughout the game.

“We worked so hard every game and have been training for a while. It’s well deserved,” Team USA captain Greg Thompson said about the gold medal win.

“Our skating, speed and endurance made the difference. We ran three lines and we just kept them coming out there knowing they were just running two lines.”

Team USA earned the first lead in the game after 97 seconds. Nielsson Arcibal skated through on the right side and Daniel Brolin couldn’t prevent him from beating goalkeeper Andreas Ollikainen with a high shot from near the slot.

Midway through the period the Swedes had their biggest scoring chance when the puck slid near the goal line but the Americans cleared the slot in time.

With 81 seconds left in the opening frame Sweden tied it up. For once the Americans were not disciplined enough in the defence and the Swedes attacked three-on-one. Alexander Olsson came from the left side, and Kristian Luukkonen in the middle converted the short pass for the 1-1 goal.

The Americans created more scoring chances in the second period, but it was the Swedes who scored the lead.

With four minutes left before the halftime break Luukkonen won a skating duel with Noe on the right side and beat American netminder Jerry Kuhn III for his second goal of the night.

The Americans tried to react immediately although with no imminent success. The Swedes missed the biggest chance on a giveaway from Kuhn III. The picture would change in the second half of the game

51 seconds into the third period Noe tied the game at two with a backhand shot from the face-off circle on a power play. At 7:30 Team USA also capitalized on the next power play. Alexander Robert sent off a backhand shot into the top-left corner for the 3-2 lead.

Sweden tried to put pressure for the tying goal but the Americans lurked for breakaways. At 2:07 the U.S. came one step closer to gold. Kyle Novak escaped on the right side and sent a drop pass to Noe for the fourth American goal.

One-and-a-half minutes later Sweden scored the much-needed 4-3 goal to keep Tre Kronor in the game. Dick Axelsson outplayed the American defence with his pass to Olsson, who netted the puck.

However, eight seconds later Pat Cannone restored the two-goal lead with the next attack. A shot from Matt White hit Swedish goalie Ollikainen, and Cannone was in good position to move the loose puck over the line.

At 6:12 Noe scored his hat trick goal when he beat Ollikainen with a shot through the five-hole during a breakaway. It was the last goal in the United States’ 6-3 victory.

The gold medal game also ended a highly successful season for USA Hockey with a medal win in each category in IIHF competitions. The United States won gold in the U20 category, with the women’s national team and now in inline hockey, silver with the men’s U18 and women’s U18 teams, and bronze in the men’s category.

Bronze Medal Game

Canada vs. Slovakia 5-1 (0-0, 2-0, 2-0, 1-1) Video

Canada medalled for the third year in a row. After bronze in 2011 and gold in 2012, the Canadians take home bronze after beating Slovakia 5-1.

“It was a pretty good tournament for us,” said Canadian goalkeeper Brett Leggat, who saved 21 of 22 shots. “We had a few newcomers this year. I think it was a learning experience for a lot of the younger guys but at the end of the day to win a bronze, and a medal three years in a row, is pretty exciting for the program and for our country.”

It was a tight game in the beginning until the Canadian scoring machine went on in the second period.

At 7:37 Adam Ross opened the scoring. His shot from the left face-off circle went in through Vladimir Neumann’s five-hole.

Chris Terry made it 2-0 with 67 seconds left before the halftime break. He surprised Neumann with a shot from an acute angle into the near corner.

Thomas Woods made it 3-0 after 85 seconds in the third period with a high backhand shot from the right side, and two minutes later Ross scored his second goal on a power play when Canada capitalized on a rather senseless penalty in the offensive zone taken by Slovakia’s Filip Novak.

Kyle Henderson made it 5-0 with 4:50 left in regulation time.

The Slovaks pushed hard for a consolation goal until the end just to find a wall in Canadian goalkeeper Leggat, who confirmed the strong performance he had throughout the tournament.

With 94 seconds left and two Canadians in the penalty box the Slovaks eventually managed to spoil Leggat’s shutout attempt. Novak made it 5-1.

Relegation Game

Finland vs. Slovenia 8-3 (0-0, 2-2, 3-0, 3-1) Video

Finland will play in the top division of the 2014 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship in Pardubice after defeating Slovenia 8-3 in the relegation game.

Slovenia has to go down to Division I after having been playing in the top division since 2003.

The Finns dominated the game from the beginning but had trouble scoring goals for the first half of the game and blew a 2-0 lead in the second period.

Eventually the Finns, who had a 3-0 record in the preliminary round but lost two games afterwards, put in the puck often enough to seal a seventh-place finish.

Jouni Aalto opened the scoring at 2:37 of the second period. He deflected the puck after Kim Strömberg had brought it to the crease from the right side.

Three minutes later Lasse Lappalainen scored a shorthanded goal after Cami Miettinen had brought the puck to the crease. But with one second left on the penalty, Mateuz Erman converted the power play to make it a one-goal game. 18 seconds later Erman scored again on a rebound after an Ales Remar shot to tie the game at two before the intermission.

Lappalainen scored his second goal on the first Finnish power play after the halftime break at 1:28 of the third frame and Strömberg made it 4-2 after a horizontal pass from Aalto just 46 seconds later. At 7:18 Strömberg added another marker for the three-goal lead.

57 seconds into the fourth period Jori Lehterä scored the 6-2 goal on a rebound just after a Slovenian penalty had expired. Miettinen made the Finnish goal song “Taivas Varjele” be played once again for his team’s seventh goal two minutes later.

Matic Podlipnik cut the lead at 6:02 of the fourth period when he deflected Anze Kuralt’s shot but Strömberg made his hat trick perfect 51 seconds later to level the score to 8-3.

Final Ranking:
1. USA
2. Sweden
3. Canada
4. Slovakia
5. Czech Republic
6. Germany
7. Finland
8. Slovenia

Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goalkeeper: Brett Leggat, Canada
Best Defenceman: Daniel Brolin, Sweden
Best Forward: Travis Noe, USA

Division I

Gold Medal Game

Austria vs. Great Britain 1-5 (0-0, 1-1, 0-1, 0-3) Video

Two years ago Great Britain won Division I gold in inline hockey and in 2012 they played in the Top Division for the first time in history before being relegated. Next year they’ll be back after defeating Austria 5-1 in the gold medal game of the Division I.

“It’s great for the team to win gold after being relegated from the Top Division last year,” said Philip Hamer, who was named Best Player of his team and Best Forward of the Division I.

The British had a difficult start in which they didn’t always perform like a top-seeded team but they became stronger throughout the event and won when it mattered most.

“We had a difficult start coming to a new rink and had a tough game against Croatia. We had to adjust from a game where we play a lot without the puck in the Top Division to a game with more puck possession here but eventually we adjusted,” Hamer said.

“We’re happy to be back in the Top Division. We hope to stay there. That’s the plan.”

Daniel Hutchinson was named Great Britain’s Player of the Game with one goal and an assist while British goalkeeper James Tanner reduced the Austrians to despair with 32 saves.

Both teams played strong defence and the first period ended scoreless despite 11-3 shots on goal in Austria’s favour, but Great Britain created more scoring opportunities later on.

The British broke the deadlock at 2:22 of the second period. Hamer skated from the left side and seemed to be looking for a pass. Eventually he shot. The puck hit Maximilian Reiter’s pad and slid to the goal line where Robert Shelton shot the loose puck in.

Reiter replaced Lorenz Hirn, who was named Best Goalkeeper in the Division I. Hirn missed the last game for his wedding.

Austria’s main problem was scoring. The chances were there but only once did the puck go in. Austria capitalized on the first power play of the game at 10:26 of the second period. Harry Lange sent off a shot from 20 metres that was deflected into the net. Benjamin Petrik was credited with the goal.

After 65 seconds in the third period Alex Pearman brought Great Britain the lead after tipping in the puck following a pass from Hutchinson.

The Austrian didn’t find the means to overcome the British defence. Putting everything forward in desperation, they gave Great Britain best chances to score in the last period.

With 4:16 left in regulation time a goal from Kurt Waller sealed the win. He deked Austrian defenceman Bernhard Fechting and beat Reiter through his five-hole. 16 seconds later Robert Shelton made it 4-1. With 2:09 left on the match clock Daniel Hutchinson added another marker.

Bronze Medal Game

Australia vs. Hungary 5-7 (1-3, 1-1, 2-1, 1-2)

After silver last year Hungary won bronze, this time after defeating Australia 7-5 in a tight clash for third place in Division I. The Australians missed out on their first medal since 2003.

The Magyars blew a two-goal lead from the first period but two late goals from Istvan Bartalis, who also plays for the ice hockey national team, decided the game.

Liam Jeffries tied the score after Attila Rafaj’s opening goal but two goals from Attila Orban gave the Hungarians a two-goal lead.

In the second period Australian captain Jordan Gavin shortened the deficit but Bartalis restored the two-goal lead.

The Australians did better in capitalizing on their chances after the halftime break. Goals from Sean Jones and Jonathon Bremner tied the game at four.

A power-play marker from Tamas Lencses with 14 second left in the third period gave Hungary the lead but Gavin’s second goal at 4:07 tied the game at five.

Hungary decided the game with two goals within a span of 20 seconds from Bartalis. He completed his hat trick with 3:29 left in the game and this time the Hungarians didn’t give away the two-goal lead anymore.

Final Ranking:
1. Great Britain
2. Austria
3. Hungary
4. Australia
5. Croatia
6. Japan
7. Argentina
8. Bulgaria

Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goalkeeper: Lorenz Hirn, Austria
Best Defenceman: Antony Collins, Australia
Best Forward: Philip Hamer, Great Britain

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