IIHF IN-LINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS | GERMANY 2009
Great Britain 1-2 Austria
Saturday 13th June 2009
Despite a proud showing, the Great Britain Inline Hockey team lost out on the gold medal in Division One of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s In-Line World Championships after a 2-1 loss to Austria in Ingolstadt, Germany.
Heading into the game as underdogs, the British team started cautiously but grew in confidence as the game progressed. After a goalless first period, the second period saw the Austrians take the lead after a spell of dominance before adding a second on the powerplay shortly after. It had been a fair reflection of the pressure put on by the Austrians up until that point, however as the game wore on it was the British who began to dominate led by the young pairing of Phil Hamer and Nathan Finney who caused problems for the Austrians on every shift and it was Hamer who pulled the Brits back into the game with a rocket slapshot in the third period.
With James Tanner once again exceptional in net for the British, the Austrians began to feel the pressure conceding several penalties however the Brits were unable to capitalise. Alex Pearman created several openings, and Tim McKay saw the impressive Austrian goalie stop one excellent chance but it was the Austrians who held firm and took the win and promotion into Pool A, from where they had been relegated last year.
British coach Nick Crawley was disappointed but justifiably proud after the final buzzer: “I don’t think anybody expected us to be in the gold medal game this year but this team has done a terrific job and showed massive potential…the core of this team are under 25 and guys like Hamer and Finney have got ten years in this tournament and can lead us into Pool A. I’m very proud of the guys and a silver medal is a reward for a fine performance over seven days.”
The British had several standout performers in the tournament with Tanner, Hamer, Pearman and Finney all excelling however credit also to debutant Richard Walsh on the blue line and fellow rookie Dan Hutchinson. “Its not fair to single guys out because this has been a team performance and in each game everyone has contributed,” adds Crawley, “We’ve improved each game and that’s very satisfying. We’re all going to look forward to next year and see if we can make that step up. The guys are down but hungry for more success.”
GB will start next year’s World Championships as 2nd seeds for Division One, the same position as last year but it means they will avoid relegated Pool A team Slovakia in the group stages. Next year’s tournament will be held in Karlstad, Sweden in late June. Full details on www.iihf.com
Full tournament results, photos and stats available at http://www.iihf.com/channels0809/inline/home.html
Tournament website at www.inlinewm.de