USA Wins Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships Pool A

18 May 2009 By IPC

In what was the final game of the winter season 2008/2009, audience members and Paralympic fans around the world had the chance to experience an all-out, exciting final which eventually was won by team USA.

The 2009 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships took place in Ostrava, Czech Republic, from 9-16 May. The eight days in the north eastern city of the Czech Republic, had a total of eight teams competing which included Canada, Japan, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway, USA, Italy and Korea. The championships were divided into two different groups (A and B), with four teams in each pool.

The athletes from the USA faced Norway in a battle for the gold medal. The first of three 15-minute periods were filled with powerful strikes and constant defence, as the score remained 0-0. When the audience and teams assumed overtime was inevitable, Andy Yohe scored the winning goal with just over 11 seconds left on the clock, putting the final score at 1-0, USA.

The bronze medal game between Canada and Japan was seen beforehand as a sure win for the top-ranked Canadians. Athletes from the future Winter Games host country gave no less than 100 percent, with goals from Todd Nicholson and Graeme Murray, putting the final score at 2-0, Canada.

On the first day of competition on 9 May, the Opening Ceremony jump-started the World Championships, heightening the athletes’ spirits. Spectators and fans watched four exciting games, which began with USA winning against Italy 3-0. Silver medal winning Norway won against Korea on the first day, 4-1. Japan won against Germany, 4-3, only after a goal in overtime by Japanese player Satora Suda. Canada won against host country Czech Republic 3-0 the same day.

The last day of the pool games on 12 May had a strong showing of all athletes hoping to make it to the semi-finals. It was clear at the start of the day however that teams from Canada, Japan, USA and Norway would proceed to the semi-finals, and therefore qualified for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Korea defeated Italy 2-1 in the first game. In the second game in pool B, Norway fought intensively to fend for first position against team USA, succeeding 2-1. Germany and Czech Republic played against each other to determine the third and fourth position of pool A, with Germany’s Udo Segreff scoring the decisive goal in overtime.

The first semi-final game was played between Canada and USA, with athletes from the USA taking the win after a penalty shoot-out that followed the overtime. Norway faced Japan in the second semi-final, with Norwegian Rolf Einar Pedersen scoring two goals which gave his team the win.

Czech Republic and Italy were the last two teams to qualify for the Vancouver 201 Winter Paralympics. After a hard three losses, the Czech team defeated Korea in the play-off round 5-1. Italy’s play-off against Germany had Italy scoring in the penalty shoot-out, putting them as the sixth and final team to qualify.

Germany and Korea will play in a Paralympic Qualifier later this year against the finalists from the 2009 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships (B Tournament), Estonia and Sweden.