2014 US National Floorball Championships
Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado
At 9AM sharp, September 20, 2014, the event was opened with Summer Creek Band playing a 4-part violin piece of the Star Spangled Banner, specially arranged for this event by Mr. Jory Lane of Colorado Springs.
Immediately after the opening ceremony, there followed 14 games of very exciting and entertaining floorball. The matches were cheered on by visiting friends, families and spectators. Each team got to match their talent against four other teams. It soon became clear that San Francisco was a strong contestant closely flanked by BosDiego, the Texas ‘Dillos and Menlo Park New York.
At the end of the day, both BosDiego and ‘Dillos had managed to obtain 9 points. As BosDiego was playing their final game, even the goal differential was matching between the two teams and people started viewing the third tie-breaker to determine who would get the 2nd seed. Finally, BosDiego scored another goal and clinched seed number two. As can be seen in the adjacent table, Menlo Park New York managed to achieve the best goal differential of the day albeit only earning two wins resulting in a 4th seed.
At the lower end were the Floorball Coalition and the Texas Titans, who tied 3-3 when they met. The Coalition was a team forged only days before tournament start with players from Alaska, Canada, Texas and Colorado. Despite their last minute creation, they fought well together and tied their opponent in the first period. With only days to go before the tournament, the Titans unfortunately lost a significant number of players on their team. However, the Titans were not discouraged at all of their sudden loss of force and battled valiantly in all their games. They managed to steal a point against the Coalition with a goal late in the game.
After the first day of hard fought games, the first seed, San Francisco, went straight to Semi Final and as per the tournament rules, the 2nd and 3rd seeds got to choose their opponents in the Quarter Final. BosDiego went with the Titans and the ‘Dillos selected the Floorball Coalition and by default, the 3rd Quarter Final then became Menlo Park New York vs. Team Colorado.
The second day started with Team Colorado being very hungry and not willing to give up easily on this tournament. This team had a rookie goalkeeper, 17-year-old Conor Chmelka of Pine Creek High School in Colorado Springs, see above. The game against Menlo Park New York was very tight but in the end Colorado lost by one goal resulting in a final score of 4-3. Menlo Park New York’s goal keeper, Daniel Vik, had the following to say after the match:
“We were not as sharp as in the previous games and Colorado played very well and created many chances. Colorado wanted to win seriously and was often first on the ball and played defense well. It was the best game played by Colorado at this tournament.”
Next, the ‘Dillos played against the Floorball Coalition. The Coalition won the first period as Number 10 Jacob Ring of Denver, Colorado scored 1-0 assisted by Number 88 Connor Owttrim. However, in the second period, ‘Dillos took over and scored several goals securing the victory. The Coalition did score again with the help of the Canadian dynamic duo. This time it was Connor Owttrim that assisted Greg Beaudin in scoring. Despite that extra heroic effort, ‘Dillos won by 7-2 and hence all Floorball forces from Colorado had been eliminated.
The Semi Finals followed where San Francisco played a close game against Menlo Park New York and winning by 2-1. Below you can see Henrik Eriksson of Menlo Park, California dueling with Jirka Krouzil of San Francisco, California. BosDiego eliminated the ‘Dillos and with that all the players from Texas were out of the battle for the Gold medals at these National Championships.
With the Semi Finals out of the way, the exciting shoot-out competition commenced. The award was a USA Hockey branded floorball stick. Three rotating goalies were recruited in order to make it as difficult as possible to score; Brandee Gomez, Lee Payne and Erin Harnden. Twenty-one shooters had signed up and took turns trying to get that ball into the net.
Head referee Vince Faso made sure that the IFF rules were followed and that no cheating took place. After a few rounds, there were four shooters entering the final. Among the finalists was Andreas Sievert of Menlo Park, California, whose name seemed to come up repeatedly during this contest. However, in the end, we had one last man standing and it was none other than Niklas Dalbjer from Sweden who well deserved and beautifully won the 2014 US Nationals shoot-out competition.
With the shoot-out out of the way, it was time for the match for the 3rd place. Menlo Park New York lined up against the Texas Dillos at noon the 2nd day. The former was the stronger team, had more stamina and hence won the Bronze by winning 6-0.
Now it was time for the Championship game; San Francisco vs. BosDiego. San Francisco took the lead in the first period by 2-0. However, before the end of the period, BosDiego managed to score three goals resulting in a 3-2 lead to them at the end of the first period.
Similarly to the first half of the first period, San Francisco scored two more goals and took the lead with 4-3. In the second half of the second period, BosDiego scores; 4-4. With about two minutes left of the game, San Francisco scored and then BosDiego and hence at full time, the score was 5-5.
At this point, a five minute “Over Time”-period started with sudden death. Two minutes into the over-time, BosDiego got a two-minute bench penalty for an incorrect push. With only two minutes left, Number 6 in San Francisco, Klas Berghede, did his characteristic long distance shot from the right hand side of the rink. The ball made it past several players that were between Klas and the goal and the final score 6-5 was a fact. Please note that BosDiego fought extremely well and honestly, any of these two teams could have won the championship.
The tournament MVP award went to Number 21, Iiro Maekinen of Menlo Park, California, see above. Iiro did very well scoring many goals and making an equal amount of assists.
The excellent refereeing was carried out by Vince Faso, above, Jeff Morris and Bobby Nodea.
Special thanks needs to be extended to the Van Noordt family for their flawless execution of the secretariat.
Floorball Colorado thanks everyone that participated in making this a success, including Zack Geiser and Calle Karlsson working behind the scene in California and Adam Troy in Sweden. The staff at the Olympic Training Center also went the extra mile to make this happen. Many thanks to Solidtango.com for sponsoring the live streaming of the Final.
Text and Pics via A Buvarp - and doubtless we saw the best reporting so far from any USA Floorball event - thank You Anders!