Last Saturday the 2018 Inline Hockey World Championships took wrapped up in Asiago, Italy. Team USA’s senior women’s team claimed gold, Team Czech Republic took home silver after looking dominant in the group play stage, and Spain claimed bronze by crushing Canada 7-1. The Junior Women’s tournament is still underway and will be wrapping up on Saturday.
The tournament featured quite a few noteworthy names from the ranks of women’s ice hockey. Jetta Rackleff of the Boston Blades tended goal for Team USA, Finnish Olympian Minnamari Tuominen led the tournament in scoring, and Katerina Mrazova of the Connecticut Whale scored 14 points in six games for Team Czech Republic.
The gold medal game of the senior women’s tournament was a rematch of an earlier 5-1 blowout victory for the Czechs. Celeste Loyatho got Team USA on the board early in the first period, but Czech forward Kristyna Kaltounkova responded by burying two even strength goals in a span of 3:41 to give her team a 2-1 edge after the first 20 minutes. Early in the second period Brooke Bryant knotted the score at 2-2 with an innocuous looking slap shot from the right faceoff dot. It was her sixth goal of the tournament.
Halfway through the third, Elisa Pogu chose the perfect time to score her first goal and only point of the 2018 World Championship. Pogu broke loose after Team USA lost a faceoff in the defensive zone and flew up the left wing boards before tucking the puck through the five hole of Czech goaltender and University of Vermont commit Blanka Skodova. That goal proved to be the game winner, giving USA its second consecutive gold medal at the Inline Hockey World Championships.
Bryant, 17, led Team USA in points and penalty minutes. She’ll be playing her freshman season of NCAA ice hockey at Minnesota State University in the fall. Rackleff posted an .810 save percentage and a 1.67 goals against in the high-scoring tournament. Team USA finished the tournament with a record of 5-1-0, and averaged 3.3 goals for per game.