Congratulations to the 2011 USARS Men’s Inline Hockey World Team on Winning the Bronze Medal at the 2011 FIRS Senior Men Inline Hockey World Championships in Roccaraso, Italy July 8-17.
Team USA Started off the Championships with a 9-3 win over Mexico, followed up by a game 2 loss to Italy by the score of 1-4. The men won game 3 over France by the score of 4-2, and also won game 4 beaten Switzerland 6-5. Team USA was paired with the Czech Republic in the first round of the playoffs a rematch of last years semi finals, the Czech’s would avenge their loss from last year winning the game 6-2. The men would rebound the Bronze medal game and beat Canada by the score of 9-5 to win the Bronze medal.
Congratulations to the following players and coaches.
Charles Sgrillo Jr
Coach- Chuck Thuss
Asst. Coach- Charles Sgrillo Sr
Team Manager- Jon Roux
2011 FIRS Official Men’s Inline Hockey World Championships in Roccaraso, Italy
This year’s FIRS inline hockey world championships were fantastic. The games were played in the very beautiful Abruzzo region town, of Roccaraso Italy.
We held Team USA tryouts in Pittsburgh, PA this spring, and had a very competitive camp. Many players were in the running for a position on this year’s team, until the final tryout session Sunday morning. As we posted our selections on the wall, and players saw their names on the list, the excitement and pride to represent the USA began to gain real momentum. Many players came to me with such gratitude at the opportunity to play for Team USA. I too expressed to them my gratitude for being the coach. The journey to the World Championships, 2011, had begun.
As we drew closer and closer to the games, I could tell the excitement was growing. Emails and Facebook messages began to be exchanged amongst the players, expressing excitement and expectations of Team USA. I was putting together potential line combinations along with power play and penalty killing units. I really liked our team.
At last, Friday July 10th had arrived and we are all on our way to Italy, ready to get the show on the road. Most players made it in safe and sound with no problems, while a couple players had some issues, but all of them worked themselves out.
Most everyone arrived by mid afternoon Saturday and were getting settled in and getting to see the rink and its setup. Many took a chance to catch a cat nap as well as we had practice scheduled for 2 am, the only slot available.
As we took the floor for practice, the excitement to get everything going, was very high. We were all very ready to defend our gold medal from last year’s games in the Czech Republic. We had a good practice and all signs were pointing to success once the games started.
Monday July 11th. The games begin today and our first match is against Mexico at 9pm. Excitement was high and we got off to a good start against an opponent we are expected to beat. The final score was 9-3. We played okay, not great, but it was a win, and for our first time in game action together, we will take and move on to game two.
Tuesday July 12th. Game 2 is versus the home town Italians. A game that would be much tougher than game one, and we would need to bring a better effort all the way around. Unfortunately, we were not up to the challenge. The Italians were the better team on this night, beating us 4-1. From a lack of offense to some struggling play in our end, we had some corrections and improvements to make for game 3.
Wednesday July 13th. Game 3 is against the speedy team from France. After making some line changes and some adjustments on our systems, we bounced back with a much better effort all the way around to beat the French 4-2. Much better play defensively and in goal, were big contributors to this win. We still were not using our speed as much as I would have liked, but keep impressing it upon the players and hopeful that part of the game would come.
Thursday July 14th. Game 4 is against the Swiss. We made a few minor adjustments for this game, nothing major, as we felt we were starting to hit our stride as a team. We got out to a fast start scoring some early goals, and managed to hold on for a 6-5 victory. We played well early and let that play fall off slightly as the game wore on, but showed some poise and our veterans led the way in that area. Off to the semi finals we go.
Friday July 15th. Game 5 is against a very strong and talented team from the Czech Republic. This would be a rematch from last year’s semi final game that we won 8-3 on Czech turf, and I was certain they wanted revenge…………..and they got it. We were beat in areas of this game from goaltending to goal scoring, losing 6-2. Our dream for a repeat gold medal was done. On the positive side, we were still in contention for a medal and would need to regroup to be sure we were ready to play on Saturday.
Saturday July 16th. Game 6 and Bronze medal game today versus our neighbors to the north, Canada. During the day, as I did throughout the week, I had some individual and group player meetings to be sure our mindset was in the correct spot to play our best game of the tournament, and win the bronze medal. All the players were disappointed that we were not playing for the gold, but everyone was hungry for the bronze. We scored early and often in the game, beating Canada 9-5 to win the bronze medal. This was the most complete game we played all week. Our scoring attack was balanced and goaltending and defense very strong. I am very happy it all came together for this game, rather than not at all.
Overall, while we did not play to our potential as a team, I am very proud of the overall effort and the bronze medal we won. The talent level from several countries has risen greatly and this is good for the game. Congratulations to all players on a job well done and thank you to Coach Chalie Sgrillo for his help all week long as well.