IIHF Worlds: Day 1 Wrapup

TOP DIVISION

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

Slovakia won the first period against Canada despite being outshot 10-2 but it wasn’t enough. The Canadians become stronger and rolled to a 5-2 win.

“I’m excited to be here and start with a win. We’re trying to get to know each other and it took a while to get it going,” said Dave Hammond, who scored two of Team Canada’s goals.

64 seconds into the game it was Slovakia’s Juraj Jurik, who opened the scoring on a two-on-one after a vertical pass from Tomas Mery. The Slovaks even got more chances on an upcoming power play but after succeeding on the penalty kill the Canadians improved their play. They missed out on three man advantages in the first period but scored the equalizer on the first power play of the second. Hammond netted the puck with a long shot after pass from Thomas Woods at 1:45.

Although the Canadians continued to dominate they had trouble bringing the puck past Slovak goalie Vladimir Neumann, who deservedly won the player of the game award for his team. It was mainly thanks to him that the score remained tied at one when the teams returned to the dressing rooms for the halftime break.

In the third period the game flow continued to go mainly in one direction and at 5:07 the Canadians got the first lead. After a shot from Adam Ross Neumann didn’t block the puck well enough and Brett Bulmer scored from the right side. Less than two minutes later Dave Hammond made it 3-1 with a shot from an acute angle. And in the third period while falling down James Isaacs managed to score another goal for the 4-1 lead in the fourth period which Richard Vanderhoek extended to 5-1 just 59 seconds later.

While playing with an extra attacker after a delayed penalty Jurik scored his second goal of the night with a shot Canadian goalie Brett Leggat didn’t entirely block with 2:10 left in regulation time but the Canadians were too strong to allow their opponent a comeback.

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

Defending champion Finland had a strong start with a 9-2 victory over Slovenia. The Lions decided the game already in the second quarter and Tampere native Jimi Palanto scored a hat trick.

“I don’t get so many goals normally but most important is that the team wins,” Palanto said. “It was a good start into the tournament but it’s only one game and tomorrow is the next one.”

The 25-year-old opened the scoring on an odd-man situation in front of the Slovenian net at 2:04. Four minutes later the Finns kept the puck in the offensive zone on a power play and after a diagonal pass from Marko Virtala back to Sami Markkanen the latter made it 2-0 with a long shot.

Rok Jakopic gave Slovenia hope with his power-play goal from the crease at 8:59 and in the next shift Simon Zerdin had a similar chance but Sasu Hovi made the save.

The game-tying goal came with 28 seconds left in the period. After a puck battle in front of the crease Jura Sotlar shot the disc high into the net. But it was short-lived joy for the Slovenes because Markkanen beat Slovenian netminder Jura Pavlic with another long shot with seven seconds left in the period.

Palanto with his second goal and Lasse Lappalainen built a three-goal cushion with their second-period markers and with 90 seconds left before the halftime break Lappalainen added another goal for the 6-2 score.

The goal galore continued after the break. Team captain Jesse Saarinen scored the first goal of the third period at 1:30 with a shot from the right face-off dot. With 57 seconds left in the third period Juho Joki-Erkkila got the puck after a giveaway from Peter Frol. He passed to Palanto, who completed his hat trick for the 8-2 goal. Jouni Aalto’s shot into the top-right corner made it 9-2 with 3:19 left in regulation time.

USA vs. Germany 7-3 (2-0, 3-2, 1-0, 1-1) Highlights

Aiming at the third medal in three years after gold in 2013 and bronze in 2014, Team USA started the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship with a convincing 7-3 win over Germany.

“It was a hard game. Germany played very well and made it hard for us to create scoring chances,” said Nathan Sigmund. It was him who was most successful in the offensive zone for Team USA with two markers.

The Americans created a two-goal cushion after the first period and never let the Germans come closer than that anymore.

Tyler Spezia opened the scoring at 6:44 after a horizontal pass from Kyle Novak and shortly after a power play Pat Cannone doubled the lead with a shot from near the goal line at 9:03.

In the second period Travis Noe netted the third goal for the Americans after skating through the right face-off circle but two minutes later Huba Sekesi brought Germany on the score board with a long shot. Nathan Sigmund restored the three-goal lead for the Americans at 5:50 of the second frame and less than two minutes later Matt White made it a 5-1 lead for Team USA.

Alexander Duck brought Germany back with a wraparound goal capitalizing on his own rebound after the puck had bounced back from the end boards.

After seven scoreless minutes in the second half of the game David Makowski scored the 6-2 goal for Team USA after a drop pass from Noe but with his second goal Duck cut the American lead to 6-3 on a power play.

The Germans didn’t manage to score another goal while Sigmund got his second of the opening day with 36 seconds left in regulation time.

Sweden vs. Czech Republic 4-5 (3-0, 0-1, 1-2, 0-2) Highlights

The Czech Republic opened the top division of the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship with a 5-4 comeback win over Sweden. The Czechs for the first time gained the lead with Mikulas Zboril’s game-winner with two minutes left in the game.

Two former World Champion teams opened the top division of the 2015 IIHF Inline Hockey World Championship. The Swedes with new faces on the team did it with early goals but in the end the Czechs were the luckier team.

“It was my first match with the men’s national team,” 21-year-old defenceman Zboril, who previously played tournaments for the junior national inline hockey team and for third-tier ice hockey club HC Prerov, said.

“It is a big chance and pleasure for me to be here. I was lucky that I scored the goal but I’m happy about it.”

In the beginning there was not much evidence that the Czechs could gain points. After 13 seconds the Sweden already had the first chance. Carl Berglund deked a shot to the left and put the puck over the line on the other side of a defeated Czech goaltender Ondrej Haloda. At 1:54 the yellow-and-blue team already made it 2-0. After a deep pass from Daniel O’Connor it was Andreas Jensen, who succeeded in front of Haloda. And with 56 seconds left in the first period, Marcus Lissang extended the lead for a 3-0 period score.

The second period remained scoreless until the Czechs scored their first goal with 2:55 left before the halftime break. Ondrej Jirkuv first hit the crossbar but in the first video review in Inline Hockey World Championship history it could be seen that the puck was over the goal line. Midway through the third quarter David Hrazdira made it a 3-2 game when scoring on a rebound after Swedish goaltender Ludvig Engsund had blocked a Petr Obdrzalek shot. However, less than a minute later Jensen scored his second goal of the game on a breakaway.

Patrik Sebek’s goal from the goal line after a long pass from Michal Simo brought the Czechs back into the game with 55 seconds left in the period. And 74 seconds into the fourth period, David Hrazdira tied the game at four.

The period continued to go in one direction and with 1:59 left in regulation time Mikulas Zboril gave the Czechs the lead for the first time. He scored on a rebound after a blocked Jan Zahradnicek shot forcing the Swedes to use their time-out. But the Swedes didn’t manage to come back and will seek their first win tomorrow against Slovenia while the Czechs will play their next game against host Finland.

DIVISION I

Argentina vs. Australia 3-6 (1-2, 0-1, 1-1, 1-2)

Australia beat Argentina 6-3 in a clash between the two southern hemisphere nations at this tournament.

Nicolas Chiaravalloti opened the scoring for Argentina at 2:08 but the Australian reacted with two quick goals from Steve Best and Jonathon Bremner for the 2-1 first-period lead for Australia which also got a second-period goal from Brenton Fitzgerald.

After the half-time break it was against the Argentines who scored first through Agustin Chiaravalloti but the Australians reacted with three unanswered goals en route to a 6-3 win.

Bulgaria vs. Great Britain 1-16 (1-0, 0-7, 0-5, 0-4)

Newly promoted Bulgaria won the first period against Great Britain after a Vasili Batchvarov goal but in the end it was a clear 16-1 decision in favour of the British who reacted with seven second-period markers.

Nathan Finney, Dan Hutchinson and Karl Niamatali all scored hat tricks; James Archer, Philip Hamer and Sam Jones all scored a pair of goals while Rob Shelton had one marker.

Croatia vs. Hungary 1-5 (1-0, 0-2, 0-2, 0-1)

Hungary opened its World Championship campaign with an important 5-1 victory in a neighbouring clash with higher-seeded Croatia.

Ivan Jankovic brought Croatia the lead after four minutes of play but Hungarian netminder Krisztian Budai didn’t allow another goal while Imre Peterdi and Akos Kiss each scored a pair of goals en route to the 5-1 win. Szilard Sandor also scored for Hungary.

Latvia vs. Austria 12-0 (3-0, 1-0, 3-0, 5-0)

Last year Latvia qualified for the first time for the Inline Hockey World Championship and started with losses until it won against unbeaten Austria. The players from the Baltic nation prepared for another tough game but it turned out to be a lopsided game as the Latvians blanked their opponent 12-0.

Roberts Lipsbergs scored four goals and had two assists while Miks Lipsberg scored two goals and had two assists. Rudolfs Maslovskis also netted two goals.

MARTIN MERK