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 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 the Swedes 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 Travis 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.
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.
Individual Awards as selected by the Tournament Directorate:
Best Goalkeeper: Brett Leggat, Canada
Best Defenceman: Daniel Brolin, Sweden
Best Forward: Travis Noe, USA
Article originally published at http://www.iihf.com/