Monday, May 10, 2004

World Hockey Championships

Sunday was medal-day at the World Hockey Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. The United States won the bronze medal, beating Slovakia 1-0 in a penalty shootout. It was a scoreless regulation and 10-minute overtime, so the teams faced off in a penalty shootout. The United States won the shootout, 4-2, to secure the 1-0 win. It was the United States' first medal since finishing third in 1996. It was also an improvement on last year's affair, in which the US placed 13th. Andy Roach scored the shootout/game-winning goal for the US. Roach has played hockey for the past five seasons in the DEL (Deutsche Eishockey Liga), a German elite league. He was born in Mattawan, Michigan, which is near Kalamazoo. US coach Peter Laviolette, head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, had this to say:
"It was tough after the loss in the semifinals. The objective was to get the team up for the bronze-medal game. They can be proud of themselves."
Canada won the gold medal, beating Sweden, 5-3, for the second straight year in the gold-medal game. Florida Panthers defenseman Jay Bouwmeester scored the game-winning goal. It was Canada's record 23rd world title, sharing that distinction with Russia. Canada's back-to-back titles are a rare achievement, as the last time they had done that was in 1958-59. Sweden was awarded the silver medal. Captain Ryan Smyth, of the Edmonton Oilers, had this to say on the gold-medal win:
"It hadn't been done since 1959, and it's great. It tops off the NHL season a bit better and helps finish the year off right."
Check out the boxscores for the US/Slovakia and Canada/Sweden games. You'll see a lot of familiar NHL names on the respective rosters.


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