Finland, Canada unbeaten

Inline: Czech Republic, Slovakia also earn wins


The Finnish players celebrate one of their nine goals in the game against Sweden. Photo: Esa Taka-Prami

TAMPERE – The quarter-final picture is complete. Host Finland remains undefeated at the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship after beating Sweden 9-1 as does Canada after beating the U.S. 5-4 in overtime. Slovakia won its first game in shootout against Germany while the Czech Republic beat Slovenia 3-2. In Division I play Argentina got its first win in four years in a dramatic 4-3 overtime decision against Hungary. Latvia and Croatia won their groups while Austria got its first win.


Quarter-Finals on 9th July

USA vs. Sweden 14:00
Czech Republic vs. Slovakia 16:00
Finland vs. Germany 18:00
Canada vs. Slovenia 20:00

All games will be streamed live. Times are local (EET).

Canada vs. USA 5-4 (0-1, 3-2, 0-0, 1-1, 1-0) OT Highlights

The eternal rivalry between the two North American teams continued in the preliminary round. Like in last year’s semi-final win for Canada the game was tied after regulation time. Again Canada was the winner after Dave Hammond’s overtime goal.

Team USA had the better start with two goals but the momentum changed when Canada scored three goals in the second period including a pair of markers from Thomas Woods.

“It feels good. We are rivals and I have friends on their team I often play against. Everytime we play them we know it’s going to be a tight game,” Woods said. “It was a team effort and everybody around us was playing well.”

The Americans outshot Canada 7-3 in the first period. Tyler Spezia’s goal gave the U.S. the lead capitalizing on the first penalty of the game. Early in the second period Derrick Burnett made it 2-0 for Team USA but then Canada eventually showed a reaction.

Adam Ross scored the first goal for Canada at 4:04 of the second period when he skated through the American defence on the right and beat Troy Redmann with a shot to the far side of the net.

Matt White restored Team USA’s two-goal lead with a shot from between the face-off circles – the second power-play goal for the Americans in two attempts, and the last as Canada wouldn’t take any more penalties.

The Canadians didn’t give up and Woods cut the American lead at 10:30. And after a nice double-pass play with Brett Bulmer with 27 seconds left before the half-time break he scored again to tie the game at three.

The game remained scoreless for a while until at 4:15 of the fourth period Team Canada gained the lead for the first time on a distance shot from Chris Rauckman.

Now the Americans had to react and covered Canadian goalie Brett Leggat with shots. It didn’t seem to work out until White had another great moment. He fast-tracked the Canadian defence with a rush along the left boards, went between Peter Kavaya and Travis Noe close to the crease to shoot the puck behind Leggat. With 3:21 left the game was re-launched with a 4-4 tie.

The teams were cautious in the extra period but couldn’t prevent thrilling rushes on both sides. At 3:43 Dave Hammond led a quick attack of the Canadians and hammered the puck in for the 5-4 game-winning goal.

The win earns Canada first place in the group and a quarter-final clash with winless Slovenia while Team USA will have to continue against Sweden on Thursday.

Finland vs. Sweden 9-1 (2-0, 2-0, 1-0, 4-1) Highlights

In the preliminary-round game most anticipated by the local crowd Finland steamrolled its neighbour Sweden 9-1 in front of 4,414 fans in Tampere.

Mikko Pukka netted the puck four times while Jimi Palanto and Marko Virtala had two markers each. Janne Laakkonen also scored for Finland while Robin Sjoren scored the only goal for Sweden.

Sasu Hovi had a great night in the Finnish with 27 saves as Finland outshot Sweden 36-28.

“It was a good game that we wanted to win,” Pukka said. “Most important is that we won the game not matter what score but it’s always nice to score. We got better every game here.”

Finland opened the scoring at 3:37 when Virtala skated through the Swedish defence on the right and beat Swedish goaltender Ludvig Engsund on the left side. Three-and-a-half minutes later Laakkonen doubled the lead by scoring on his own rebound for the 2-0 first-period score.

The Swedes also had their chances to score but Hovi had an excellent start in the Finnish net while his teammates took care of the goals.

Palanto scored the 3-0 goal with a precise shot at 7:09 of the second period and 80 seconds later Pukka deflected a shot into the Swedish net after a horizontal pass from Palanto on a well executed power play.

Also in the third period the Swedes had trouble scoring on Hovi and didn’t manage to capitalize on a double minor against Palanto. And to make it worse, with a delayed penalty call against Sweden Virtanen made it 5-0 for Finland with a shot that went in just under the crossbar.

Sweden eventually got itself onto the scoreboard at 3:01 of the fourth period when team captain Robin Sjoren found the space on the floor and in the net to score the 5-1 marker with a shot to the far side. But instead of a Swedish comeback the fans in Tampere saw Finland increase the score to lopsided spheres.

43 seconds after the Swedish goal Pukka answered with the 6-1 marker after Palanto’s pass from behind the net and just over two minutes he added another one after deflecting Virtala’s pass to the crease before Palanto also scored another marker for the 8-1 score.

With 2.7 left on the game clock Pukka was again all smile when he scored his fourth goal of the night for the final score of 9-1.

Germany vs. Slovakia 1-2 (1-0, 0-1, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-1) SO Highlights

Slovakia got its first win in a 2-1 shootout win against Germany. Vladimir Neumann shone with 41 saves.

Germany and Slovakia had both lost to the North American teams in the group stage and challenged each other until the penalty shootout before Slovakia got the first win of the tournament with Tomas Jakos’ two shootout goals.

Although Germany outshot the Slovaks 42-26, it remained an open and low-scoring game also thanks to excellent goaltending from Neumann and Germany’s Jochen Vollmer.

At 6:29 of the first period Germany opened the scoring. Yannik Baier sent a pass from behind the opponent’s net to Christian Poetzel but it hit an opponent’s stick and went in from there. It was a lucky goal but a well-deserved lead considering the 14-3 shots on goal in Germany’s favour in the first period.

“It was a tough game. We knew we had to win if we wanted to be third in our group,” said Neumann, who in the winter plays ice hockey for HO Hamikovo in the third-tier Slovak league.

“In the first period we didn’t do what we said in the locker room. We had a lot of penalty kills but we got through and in the second period we started to play our game and played well in defence.”

The Slovaks improved their game both offensively and defensively in the second period and at 7:26 they tied it up when Roman Simunek’s shot from 15 metres went in behind a screened Vollmer.

Both teams had chances to decide the game during regulation time but the goaltenders kept their net clean also during the five-minute overtime period to force a shootout decision.

Penalty shootout:
Round 1: GER #20 Seifert – 1-0, SVK #9 Ruckay – save
Round 2: GER #18 Krzizok – missed, SVK #28 Preisinger – 1-1.
Round 3: GER #13 Tolzer – 2-1, SVK #16 Jasko – 2-2.
Round 3: SVK #28 Preisinger – missed, GER #20 Seifer – missed.
Round 4: SVK #16 Jasko – 2-3, GER #3 Schmidle – post.

Czech Republic vs. Slovenia 3-2 (1-0, 2-1, 0-0, 0-1) Highlights

The Czechs opened the scoring after eight minutes of play during their second man advantage. Pavel Strycek was positioned well in front of the net to capitalize on a rebound after a Michal Simo shot from the left side.

Although the Czechs outshot the Slovenes, their opponent played a competitive game. With a nice backhand shot Jure Sotlar tied the game for Slovenia at 6:58 of the second period. He skated on the right and found the gap between Czech defenceman Jan Zahradnicek and goalie Ondrej Haloda.

Saso Rajsar even had the chance to gain the lead for Slovenia on a breakaway but his attempt ended at Haloda and the Czechs reacted immediately on the other side.

Tomas Rubes skated from right to left to the crease and scored magnificently with a high shot from an acute angle when Slovenian goalie Tomaz Trelc went down. Only 70 seconds after regaining the lead Mikulas Zboril scored the 3-1 goal for the Czech Republic with a perfect shot from the face-off circle to the far side to leave the ice for the half-time break with a two-goal cushion.

After a scoreless third period Rajsar cut Slovenia’s deficit to one goal when he capitalized on a rebound after a long shot from defenceman Miha Brus to set up a challenge for the Czechs in the last nine minutes of regulation time but it was too little to tie the game again.

The Czechs are now in second place before tonight’s Finland-Sweden game while Slovenia finished the group in last place and will play the top-ranked team of Group B – Team USA or Canada – in Thursday’s quarter-finals.


Quarter-Finals on 9th July

Australia vs. Austria 13:00
Great Britain vs. Hungary 15:00
Croatia vs. Bulgaria 17:00
Latvia vs. Argentina 19:00

All games will be streamed live. Times are local (EET).

Australia vs. Croatia 4-9 (0-2, 1-3, 1-1, 2-3)

Croatia gave Australia its first defeat at the tournament, 9-4, and took first place in Group D to set up a quarter-final meeting with winless Bulgaria.

The Croats were the more efficient team and started with three unanswered goals from Ivan Jankovic, Marko Tadic and Domen Vedlin. Each team Australia would come back by a goal the Croats managed to find the answer in the form of more goals. They entered the half-time break with a 5-1 lead and extended it in the following two periods.

Jankovic and Niksa Trstenjak each scored a pair of goals for Croatia.

Great Britain vs. Latvia 5-6 (2-4, 1-1, 1-1, 1-0)

Latvia finished its group in strong fashion and edged Great Britain 6-5 to enter Thursday’s quarter-finals as first-ranked of Group C in a clash with Argentina.

Defenceman James Archer opened the scoring for Great Britain after 75 seconds of play but Latvia reacted with two goals scored within less than a minute by Roberts Lipsbergs and Aleksandrs Kercs.

Rudolfs Maslovskis and Miks Lipsbergs added two more goals and Dan Hutchinson had one in between for Great Britain for a first-period score of 4-2 in Latvia’s favour.

In the second period Aleksandrs Galkins extended the lead for Latvia on a power play but Karl Niamatali scored Great Britain’s third goal.

Great Britain twice came as close as one goal in the second half of the game. Joey Ganley scored 42 seconds into the third period but a few moments later Miks Lipsbergs restored the two-goal lead with his second marker.

At 2:43 of the fourth period Ben Lowe cut the deficit again but Latvia managed to defend the 6-5 lead for the remainder of the game.

Hungary vs. Argentina 3-4 (2-0, 1-1, 0-1, 0-1, 0-1) OT

Two years ago Argentina lost to Hungary in a shootout, this time they took revenge with a 4-3 overtime win coming back from a 3-1 deficit. It was Argentina’s first win at an IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship in four years.

Marton Mach and Zoltan Revak scored the goals for a 2-0 first-period lead for Hungary. After Rodrigo Irisarri had brought Argentina on the scoreboard early in the second period, Akos Kiss restored Hungary’s two-goal lead.

The Argentines reacted in the second half of the game. Facundo Vadra scored the 3-2 goal at 4:49 of the third period and with 20 seconds left in regulation time – with 6-on-4 players on a power play and with the goalie pulled – Sebastian Bustos tied the game at three to force the first extra period of the World Championship.

At 1:59 of overtime it was Vadra, who scored the game-winning goal for Argentina.

Austria vs. Bulgaria 8-0 (1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 2-0)

In a game for third place in the group between two winless teams Austria blanked Bulgaria 8-0. The Bulgarians managed to keep the score in the first period low when Johannes Lins scored the only goal but the Austrians increased their goal production.

Lins and Harry Lange scored a pair of goals each. Christian Haidinger, Gerd Gruber, Andre Niec and Tobias Schonauer scored the other markers for Austria.

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