Team USA Juniors win gold at the World Championships!
I'm going to put this story on the IHC Home Page soon, but I wanted to give the State Wars raffle story a little longer play. Check it out:
FIERCE AT FIRS
Team USA Juniors win gold at the World Championships!
by Jon Roux, Team USA Junior Prospects Director, and Ben Frank, Team USA West Coordinator
The summer of 2007 marked a huge step forward for the sport of inline hockey as FIRS (Federation International Roller Sports) now recognizes the Junior division at the World Junior Championships. The event would prove to be an experience of a lifetime for the group of lucky young men who would represent Team USA.
Team USA Bound for Düsseldorf, Germany
Many of the Team USA players and parents departed from Detroit, MI, site of the 2007 AAU Junior Olympic Games to (Düsseldorf, Germany) site of the 2007 FIRS Junior World Championships. The team stayed near Düsseldorf?s central transportation hub, so there were many places to eat and visit in what would be the first trip out of North America for most of the young men.
Team USA Prevails to Number One Seed
It took no time for Team USA to warm up in their first game of the tournament as they downed Australia 7-0. Team USA?s next game would not be an easy one. Hampered by seven penalties, Team USA would manage to escape with a 3-3 tie to a very solid Czech Republic team. Team USA would not get much of a break as they finished up with the late game on the 26th and had the first game on the schedule on the 27th at 8:00 am against the host team Germany. A mentally tough USA squad would prevail 6-1. Round-Robin play finished up with the USA beating a much improved Mexico team 10-0 to finish the round robin as the number-one seed with a record of 3-0-1.
Team Israel Faces Significant Challenges
USA would draw a young Israel team in the first playoff round. Israel was at a significant disadvantage in the tournament because in Israel, all males at the age 19 must enlist in the military service, leaving only players 18 and under to play inline hockey for the national team. Furthermore, equipment can be extremely expensive and hard to find in Israel. The many challenges did not dampen their spirits however, as they came to Germany to have a good time and gain some valuable playing experience for the younger players. In the end, team USA would win, 10-1, sending them to a semi-final rematch versus Team Germany. This game would be a battle for Team USA as it went back and fourth with teams trading early goals. In the end, Team USA?s offense proved too much, as they moved on to the finals with a 7-3 victory.
Team USA vs. Czech Republic
The final day arrived and as many expected, it came down to the USA and the Czech Republic doing battle for the title of Junior World Champions. The Czechs wasted no time as they jumped on Team USA scoring at the 1:25 mark of the first period. With a one goal lead and controlling the tempo of the game the Czechs would get on the board again at 8:25. Team USA would finally get on the board with a power play goal from Brian Rogers assisted by Eric Keene to end the first period with the U.S. trailing, 2-1. The Czechs? penalty minutes began to mount, giving Team USA many opportunities to score, but the Czech goalie held his ground and kept his team in the game. Team USA with several power plays were unable to convert early on, but spectators could just feel the momentum slipping away from the Czechs as Team USA was coming closer to scoring on each possession. Team USA built on that momentum when Mike Inouye (CA) lit the lamp just 3:37 seconds in to the second period on a pass from defense men Ben Dyer (OH).
With the scored tie at 2-2, both teams battled for the next 12 minutes before the puck squirted out of a pile-up on the boards at mid court and was picked up by Dustin Roux (PA) who went in on the Czech goalie, putting it five-hole to give the USA its first lead of the game. The pressure mounted for the Czechs, as they were forced to take offensive chances, and Team USA again capitalized on the Czech?s desperation, with Mike Inouye scoring his second goal of the game on an assist by Brian Rodgers. Dustin Roux finished out the scoring for Team USA with an empty-net goal with just 20 seconds left to play, giving Team USA the World Junior Championship Title!
AAU Proud Member
AAU Hockey Chair, Keith Noll said: ?The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is very proud to be a member organization of USA Rollersports (USARS), the National Governing Body of Inline Hockey, (Rollersports) in the USA. This association has allowed our athletes the opportunity to compete in the USARS Team USA Prospect program for four years. The majority of USARS (19&under) Junior Team USA that won the World Championships last July in Dusseldorf, Germany qualified for the USARS Team USA select tryouts came out of the AAU Hockey program. Dustin Roux, (Pittsburgh) the MVP of the 2007 FIRS-Junior World Championships has been in the AAU Hockey program for the past six years. This has helped create intense interest in the USARS Team USA Prospects program at the grass roots level in the 10u-12u-14u-16u-18u divisions.?
Tournament Director Dirk Schultz honored Dustin Roux as 2007 Junior World Tournament MVP.
Team USA Members
Ben Dyer - OH; Dustin Roux - PA; Eric Keene - PA; Colin Sipperley - MI; Mike Inouye - CA; Erik Rios - CA; Brian Ganz - CA; Ryan Bernot - CO; Brian Rogers - CO; Trace Williams - GA; Kevin Hammerschlag - NY; Jonathan Taveggia - MI; Jason Yokubison - MI: Chase Luick - TX; Jeff Bond - MI - Head Coach
USARS Adds Three More Zones
USARS has added three more zones in the 10&U through 16&U age divisions for the 2007-08 season. For more information, visit USARS Team USA programs at www.teamusajrprospects.com and www.usarollersports.org, and visit AAU Inline Hockey program details at www.aauhockey.org. For more information on the 2008 AAU Junior Olympic Games, please see www.aaujrogames.org.
Inline Hockey Central