Sweden vs. Slovakia for InLine gold medal

Canada and Great Britain will meet for Division I gold


Sweden and Slovakia will face-off for the gold medal tomorrow. Sweden won the first meeting, 5-0. Photo: Jakub Sukub

Top Division:
United States – Sweden 8-12 (0-2, 6-5, 1-2, 1-3)
Sweden will go for its second straight gold medal at the InLine Hockey World Championship after defeating the United States 12-8 in an action-packed game. Both teams played an offensive game as they combined for 13 goals in the first half alone. Dick Axelsson scored twice in the first quarter and ended the game with a remarkable five goals. The early lead was quickly dismantled by the Americans, who put in six goals in the second quarter. Unfortunately for the U.S., the Swedes also scored five times in the quarter to end the half with a slim 7-6 advantage. A pair of goals in the first three minutes of the third quarter restored Sweden’s lead to three goals, and while the Americans managed to pull within two, the lead withstood the late comeback attempts. In the end, it was Axelsson, who scored a pair of late-game goals and put the game out of reach for the U.S. It is the fourth straight gold medal game appearance for the Swedes. The U.S. will go for bronze against Germany, which won the bronze medal last year.

Germany – Slovakia 2-3 (0-1, 0-1, 2-0, 0-0, 0-1)
Host Slovakia will go for its first-ever medal at the InLine Hockey World Championship thanks to a 3-2 overtime win against last year’s bronze-medalist, Germany. Slovakia will skate for the gold medal tomorrow, and is assured its first-ever prize at the championship, regardless of color. Meanwhile, Germany will go for its second straight bronze medal. It was far from a high-scoring affair as Slovakia clung to a slim 2-0 lead at the end of the first half. The Slovaks netted both of their first half goals in the waning moments of the two first quarters, with Marek Horsky and Peter Strapaty building up the lead. But 2:27 into the second half, Germany netted its first goal of the game, cutting the lead in half. Patrick Reimer netted the key power-play goal to make things tense on both benches. The drama continued when Reimer struck again with the game-tying goal. Slovakia was unable to counter in regulation and the game headed to overtime. It took only 19 seconds for Slovakia’s Peter Staron to end the drama with the game-winning goal, giving Slovakia the 3-2 win and its first-ever berth in the gold medal game.

Czech Republic – Finland 10-8 (1-4, 4-0, 2-1, 3-3)
After losing the placement game to the Czech Republic, 10-8, perennial powerhouse Finland can only hope to forget this year’s InLine Hockey World Championship and focus on getting back on track next season.
For two teams that had little to play for, the game was more entertaining and competitive than one might have thought. Early on, it looked like Finland was looking for redemption, jumping out to a 4-1 lead. But things fell apart in the second quarter as the Czechs put in four unanswered goals to take a 5-4 lead at the half.
In the second half, The Czechs always seemed to have the upper hand. Finland was able to match the Czechs on virtually every goal, but was unable to get the game-tying goal. The teams combined for nine back-and-forth goals in the final half, but when the dust settled, the Czechs ended the game with the 10-8 bragging rights.

Slovenia – Austria 9-2 (2-0, 3-2, 3-0, 1-0)
Slovenia had no problems winning its placement game against Austria with a simple 9-2 victory. Austria kept within striking distance in the first half, trailing only 5-2 at the break. But there was nothing the Austrians could do to stop the Slovenian offense, which averaged three goals a quarter in the first 36 minutes. In the second half, Austria could find no answer to three more Austrian goals as they blew open an 8-2 lead. With things determined, Slovenia let up in the fourth quarter, adding just one more goal and rolling to the 9-2 win.

Division I
Great Britain – Brazil 4-3 (0-2, 1-0, 1-0, 2-1)
Great Britain will skate for Division I gold after defeating defending champion Brazil, 4-3. The Brits didn’t hold a lead until just over 10 minutes was left in the game, and the go-ahead goal came in dramatic fashion as John Dolan scored on a penalty shot. Diego Araujo tied the game at three shortly after the penalty shot, but Great Britain kept its momentum and put in the game-winner when Simon Hehir scored with 5:58 left in the game.

Until the fourth quarter comeback, Brazil had been in control thanks in large part to a quick 2-0 lead in the first quarter. But after the early sparks, the Brazil offense fell flat, allowing Great Britain to chip away at the lead with one goal in the second quarter, followed by the game-tying tally in the third. The 2-2 deadlock lasted until Dolan’s heroics, sending the Brits into the golden game. Both teams will play in their separate medal games tomorrow.

Canada – Australia 8-0 (3-0, 1-0, 4-0, 0-0)
Canada easily earned a berth in the Division I gold medal game with an 8-0 win against Australia. Three Canadians players, Cory Conacher, David Hammond and Jeremy McKibbon scored twice in the win. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first 3:38, it became clear that Canada was on a mission to get to the gold medal game. By halftime, the lead was 4-0, as Australia could do nothing to both stop the Canadian offense and find some firepower of its own. Canada exploded in the third quarter with four more goals, putting the game well out of reach for the Aussies. With things basically decided, Canada eased up in the fourth quarter, rolling onto the gold medal game with the 8-0 shutout.

Hungary – New Zealand 7-6 (3-2, 2-1, 2-2, 0-1)
In the placement game of Division I, Hungary nipped New Zealand, 7-6, to secure its spot back at the InLine Hockey World Championship next year. New Zealand is relegated after finishing among the bottom two finishers. The edge for Hungary came in the first half, when they out-scored New Zealand by a goal in each quarter to build a 5-3 lead at halftime. The goal from Zoltan Revak with 1:47 left in the half gave Hungary its first convincing lead of the game, up to that point they had been neck-and-.neck with the Kiwis. Tamas Dobos made it a 6-3 lead to open the third quarter scoring, but New Zealand worked its way slowly back into the game, pulling to within one with just over two minutes left. But Hungary hung on and stifled any hopes of a game-tying goal as they skated onto the 7-6 win.
Japan – Bulgaria 11-5 (2-1, 3-2, 2-1, 4-1)
Japan will return to next year’s InLine Hockey World Championship after earning an 11-5 win against Bulgaria in today’s placement game. The loss relegates Bulgaria from the event. Osamu Ishibschi and Tadamura Shuhei were the key to success for Japan. Both had two goals and two assists in the victory. Things were close until Japan was able to climb out to a two-goal lead in the waning moments of the first half. From that point on, Bulgaria never challenged, as Japan built its lead to three goals in the third quarter and added another four goals in the last 12 minutes to cruise to the 11-5 win. It was the last game of the this year’s championship for both teams.
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