Finland wins thriller in shootout

Slovakia, Sweden, USA also win on Day 2

Bratislava  Slovakia

Finland's Petri Partanen beats Czech goalie Dominik Frodl during the shootout. Photo: Rene Miko

BRATISLAVA – Finland beat the Czech Republic 7-6 in shootout in a thrilling game that went back and fourth. Host Slovakia got its first victory of the 2017 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship against newcomer Croatia. Team USA in a North American battle against Canada and Sweden against Germany also won their games on Day 2. Argentina, Great Britain, Slovenia and Latvia got victories in the Division I tournament.

Top Division: Czech Republic vs. Finland 6-7 (2-2, 0-1, 2-1, 2-2, 0-0, 0-1) SO

What a thriller it was! The Czechs tied a Finnish lead five times to force overtime and eventually a shootout but Finland got the win, 7-6.

Jimi Palanto score two goals for Finland and Jakub Petruzalek was on his way to become the Czechs’ hero with three goals each tying the score but eventually Teemu Lepaus became the hero for Finland with two goals in the shootout including the game-winning goal.

“It’s pretty awesome especially since it’s my first time at the world Championship,” said the 24-year-old forward, who recently got a contract with Ilves Tampere to play in Finland’s top ice hockey league after two years with second-tier team SaPKo.

“I think we were the better team and deserve this win and I hope we will defend better in our next game against Sweden,” he added.

The Czechs outshot Finland 27-21 but the Finns had the better start and despite the 7-6 score never allowed the Czechs to take the lead.

Finland used the first power play of the game to get onto the scoreboard after 57 seconds of play. Palanto was fed left from the goal by Lepaus and converted the pass for the opening goal.

The game then went back and forth with goals in a two-minute interval. Pavel Strycek tied it up for the Czechs but Mikko Pukka netted the puck after a drop pass from behind the net from Ossi Pellinen to give Finland another lead.

Vladimir Kames reacted for the Czechs at 7:33. He skated through along the right boards and then beat Samu Airasvaara with a shot from the face-off dot.

Simo Mertanen brought Finland back in front midway the second frame when he surprised Czech goalie Dominik Frodl with a long shot from behind the face-off circles.

Finland defended the lead well and midway the third period Suomi made it 4-2 on the second a power play expired. After great passing in the Czech zone Palanto concluded the play with his second goal.

The Czechs didn’t give up though and tied the game at four with two goals scored within just over two minutes.

First Petr Kafka cut the Finnish lead to one at 9:16 of the third period. Skating from the red line towards the net, he let go a wrist shot from about eight metres that beat Finnish goalie Airasvaara. And with 34.4 left in the period the Czechs converted a power play to tie the game again. Petruzalek succeeded with his close-range shot from the left side.

The fourth period started at par and remained scoreless. Midway the frame the Finns got good opportunities when first Petruzalek was assessed a penalty for tripping and later Zdenek Kubica sent to the penalty box for charging. That was three minutes of power play and Sami Markkanen eventually scored on a rebound after a long shot from Lasse Lappalainen. But the lead just stayed for 23 seconds when Pavel Strycek fed Petruzalek with a horizontal pass and the latter scored with a top-shelf shot.

With that goal the regulation time was still not over. After patient puck-possession play in the own zone the Finns started a quick forecheck and Petri Partanen fed Juho Joki-Erkkila with a short pass he used for the 6-5 goal with 1:47 left on the clock.

Now the Czechs had to react again and played the last minute on power play and after the 0:20 mark 5-on-3 with the goalie pulled. With 12.1 seconds left on the clock Petruzalek scored his third goal of the game after a pass from Kafka to tie the game at six and force overtime.

During the extra period the teams were more cautious and didn’t allow each other good scoring opportunities making a shootout decision necessary where Lepaus scored the game-winning goal in the fourth round.

Penalty-Shot Shootout:

Round 1: Sami Markkanen (FIN) post, Jiri Cernoch (CZE) 1-0.
Round 2: Petri Partanen (FIN) 1-1, Jakub Petruzalek (CZE) saved.
Round 3: Teemu Lepaus (FIN) 1-2. Petr Kafka (CZE) 2-2.
Round 4: Petr Kafka (CZE) saved, Teemu Lepaus (FIN) 2-3.

Top Division: Slovakia vs. Croatia 7-2 (3-1, 2-0, 2-0, 0-1)

After a rough start against the U.S. host Slovakia made it better on Day 2 of the 2017 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship and beat newly-promoted Croatia 7-2.

Juraj Jurik and Patrik Szabo each scored a pair of goals for the Slovaks, who outshot Croatia 26-19.

“It feels good to win. It’s what we wanted and exactly what we said we’d do,” said Slovak goalie Vladimir Neumann. “The beginning was not so good, we were a bit hectic but then we got better and scored our goals.”

Before the Slovaks started the goal galore, it was the Croats’ turn. Domen Vedlin used the whole field of play to skate back on the right side, forecheck on the left, pass through the Slovak defence to the right and beat Neumann to give Croatia its first lead in IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship top division history. That was after 70 seconds of play and the Slovaks used the rest of the game well.

The home team recovered and played like a favourite in this game. Filip Novak used Slovakia’s first power play after half a minute to tie the game at 6:24. When the next Croatian player was sent to the sin bin, the Slovaks scored again after half a minute when Marcel Holovic made it 2-1 at 7:18 and two-and-a-half minutes later Miroslav Kristin extended the lead.

Croatia got its first power play in the second period but once Patrik Szabo returned from the penalty bench he scored the 4-1 goal and 28 seconds later he hit the back of the net again to give his team a four-goal lead going into the half-time intermission.

Croatia changed goaltenders. Mate Tomljenovic was replaced by Tihomir Filipec and the Croats started with a power play but instead of getting new hope with a marker, Juraj Jurik scored a shorthanded goal at 1:33. Seven minutes later he netted the puck again after a pass that came back from behind the net by Boris Ertel.

Vedlin also scored Croatia’s second goal with 2:41 left and during a power play after a horizontal pass behind the face-off circles from Ivan Jankovic.

Slovakia scored seven goals against newcomer Croatia. Photo: Rene Miko

Top Division: Sweden vs. Germany 4-2 (1-0, 1-0, 2-1, 0-1)

After the opening day loss Sweden recovered and got its first three points in a 4-2 victory against Germany.

After early goals from Markus Kinisjarvi the Swedes managed to control the game and although both teams exchanged goals later on, Germany never got closer than two goals.

“To get that quick goals is important in inline hockey since you keep the puck longer than in ice hockey,” Kinisjarvi said on his markers.

“We had a little bit more speed than Germany that we used to create chances. We should have scored even more goals. Our goalie Robert [Kinisjarvi] had a strong game too.”

At 3:49 of the opening frame Linus Svedlund send a drop pass towards the crease. Marcus Viitanen forwarded the puck to Kinisjarvi, who opened the scoring. With fine stickhandling and slick skating ten minutes later Kinisjarvi deked Ales Jirik and beat German goalie Daniel Filimonow with a high wrist shot.

Moments later the Germans were cheering after a shot from Mathias Jeske, which hit the goal post. After a video review whether the puck crossed the line or not the officials stayed with the no-goal decision.

At 5:58 of the third period the Swedes extended the lead on a counter-attack. Alexander Olsson got the puck next to the goal and skated around the goalie to beat him for Tre Kronor’s third goal. But two minutes later the Germans finally got on the scoreboard as well. Marco Deubler took Linus Svedlund the puck away in the offensive zone and Christian Potzel scored with a high shot.

But the two-goal difference didn’t stay for long as Hampus Larsson made it 4-1 just 54 seconds later on a rebound.

The 4-2 goal from Tim Brazda in the last period after a nice pass from Sebastian Lachner gave Germany new hope with over six minutes remaining in regulation time but too little happened to put Sweden’s win in jeopardy.

Sweden's Marcus Viitanen watches this puck go into the net behind German goaltender Daniel Filimonow. Photo: Rene Miko

Top Division: USA vs. Canada 8-2 (3-1, 1-0, 1-0, 3-1)

The United States are the inline hockey kings of North America, at least for a few days before the medal games. Team USA beat Canada 8-2 on Day 2 of the 2017 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship.

At the last Inline Hockey Worlds it was the Canadians who won 5-4 in overtime. Canada continued to earn gold while Team USA got ousted in the quarter-finals. This year the Americans were up for revenge and did it with an impressive 8-2 victory against their North American rivals despite being outshot 22-20.

Veteran forward Matt White, who had two goals and an assist, was happy but remained cautious after a game that was rough at times but clear in the score.

“We expect it to be like that every game. With Canada we’re always battling no matter what the score is,” White said. “The score isn’t an indication of how they play. We just capitalized well on our chances.”

The battle of North America started as an emotional affair. Already at the first face-off players did not only exchange words and after 34 seconds of play two penalties were assessed.

While teams were equal in terms of penalty minutes, Team USA opened a gap where it matters most: goals. John Schiavo opened the scoring at 2:06 after a drop pass from William Pascalli and 42 seconds later White slickly skated through the defence to make it 2-0 – a goal that was followed by some roughing between the teams and eight penalties.

Tyler Spezia even gave Team USA a three-goal lead three-and-a-half minutes later but the Canadians managed to cut the deficit before the end of the period when Dave Hammond scored after a centring pass from Brendan Baumgartner.

The Americans got the three-goal lead back in the second frame. Schaivo won a puck battle and Kettler scored from the left face-off circle.

Some minutes later the first full power play took place for Canada when Shane Fox’ stick unintentionally hit Jonah Renouf during an interference infraction but the Canadians didn’t capitalize on it.

After the half-time break it became even worse for the Canadians during their next man advantage. After a blocked shot the Americans reacted fastest and White succeeded on a breakaway with his second goal of the game.

22 seconds into the fourth period the Americans succeeded again. Team Canada goalie Brett Leggat blocked Spezia’s shot but Travis Noe capitalized on the loose puck to make it 6-1 and Peter DiMartino added another marker with a high shot later in the period. Jack Combs made it 8-1 after a rush on the right side from White while Chris Rauckman scored for Canada with 93 seconds remaining for the final score of 8-2.

Team USA players celebrate a goal in their 8-2 romping of Canada. Photo: Rene Miko

Division I: Latvia vs. Australia 6-2 (1-1, 3-0, 0-1, 2-0)

After beating Great Britain, qualifier Latvia got another big win against one of the top-seeded teams by beating Australia 6-2. Latvia outshot the Australians 29-23 and Rustams Begovs had a hat trick.

Arturs Batraks opened the scoring at 6:29 of the first period but Kaden Goulds tied it up four minutes later.

The Latvians made the difference with three unanswered goals in the second period, two from Begovs and one from Gatis Sprukts.

Sean Jones cut the Latvian lead at 5:40 of the third period but Latvia’s Arturs Batraks and Begovs scored two more goals in the last frame to make it a clear win.

Happy Latvian players at the bench after a goal. Photo: Jan Sukup

Division I: Hungary vs. Slovenia 1-8 (0-0, 0-2, 0-3, 1-3)

In its attempt to earn promotion back to the Top Division, Slovenia earned its second high-scoring win on Day 2 by beating Hungary 8-1. Slovenia outshot its neighbours 44-20.

Hungary managed to keep up in the first period but in the second frame Slovenia started to shoot more often. Miha Brus opened the scoring 10 seconds into the second period when a penalty against Hungary had just expired. Four minutes later Saso Rajsar made it 2-0.

The goal machine was running even better after the half-time break. Power-play goals from Ales Fajdiga and Nejc Berlisk as well as a marker at even strength from Miha Logar gave Slovenia a five-goal lead.

In the fourth period Fajdiga became the only player of the game to score two goals. Gregor Koblar and Mateuz Erman also scored in the last period. Akos Kiss scored Hungary’s consolation goal with two minutes left to spoil Tomas Trelc’s shutout attempt.

Scoring chance for Slovenia in the 8-1 victory over Hungary. Photo: Jan Sukup

Division I: Great Britain vs. Brazil 4-2 (1-0, 1-1, 1-1, 1-0)

South America qualifier Brazil gave Great Britain a tough match but the British got their first win after an improved play in the second half of the game.

Ashley Jackson and Ben Lowe gave Great Britain the lead while Felipe Geraldini scored the 2-1 goal for Brazil.

Brazil outshot Great Britain 17-10 in the first half of the game and 25 seconds into the third period Gustavo Tecchio tied the game at two.

That’s when the British became stronger and a pair of goals from Dan Hutchinson eventually made the difference in the 4-2 win.

Great Britain's Dan Hutchsinson (pictured against Caua Guzman) scored the two deciding goals against Brazil. Photo: Jan Sukup

Division I: Argentina vs. New Zealand 6-4 (1-3, 2-0, 1-0, 2-1)

Argentina got its first victory of the tournament after turning a 3-1 deficit into a 6-4 win against qualifier New Zealand.

The Kiwis gut the 3-1 first-period lead after goals from Lewis Taiapa, Jaan Turia and Paul Jameson. Sebastian Echevarria scored the 1-1 marker for Argentina.

In the second period Argentina tied the game at three with a pair of goals from Sebastian Bustos and in the third Rodrigo Irisarri gave Argentina the lead which his team didn’t give back anymore. Owen Haiek and Agustin Chiaravalloti scored for Argentina and Vincenso Cistrone for New Zealand in the last period.

The Argentine players sing their national anthem after earning their first win. Photo: Jan Sukup





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