Norway retained the International Hockey Lineal Championship they surprisingly took from the midst of the World Championships, defeating Slovenia at the opening of the Polessye Cup.
Jumping out to an early lead on a Martin Røymark goal just 74 seconds into regulation, the Isbjørnene, while not necessarily outplaying the Slovenes, kept their defensive play tight, power play strong and goaltending sharp thanks to Pål Grotnes to stay up 1-0 after two periods, despite being outshot 18-14.
Norway struck early in the third again to double the lead, with a Kristian Forsberg power play tally just 67 seconds into the third putting Norge ahead of the Risi 2-0. Anders Bastiansen would put Norway’s third past Slovene keeper Andrej Hočevar 13 minutes later for the 3-0 lead, and while Rok Tičar would spoil Grotnes’ shutout with a power play goal with four seconds remaining in regulation, it was too little too late, with Norway sealing the 3-1 victory.
With the win, Norway retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship they won from Switzerland at the end of group play at the World Championships in Mannheim, guaranteeing for just the second time ever in the current tournament format that the IHLC did not advance to the medal round. Norway, in only their third IHLC reign, plays a Slovenian team for the first time over the title, and Slovenia plays its first title game in over four years, and just third in history. Norway next defends against Denmark in Gomel, who are also seeking their first IHLC.
01:14 – GOAL – Røymark (Forsberg)
05:35 – PEN – Brus, tripping
10:05 – PEN – Bonsaksen, holding
13:05 – PEN – Djupvik Løvlie, tripping
17:10 – PEN – Pavlin, interference
19:52 – PEN – Røymark, holding
23:58 – PEN – Jeglič, slashing
24:56 – PEN – Kovačevič, holding
27:23 – PEN – Sørvik, interference
33:37 – PEN – Sørvik, holding
39:17 – PEN – M. Hočevar, tripping
41:07 – PP GOAL – Forsberg (Solberg)
44:52 – PEN – Kovačevič, high sticking
47:10 – PEN – Goličič, hooking
52:55 – PEN – Dahlstrøm, roughing
52:55 – PEN – Kuznik, roughing
54:16 – GOAL – Bastiansen (L. Spets)
57:47 – PEN – Sørvik, interference
59:33 – PEN – Bonsaksen, tripping
59:56 – PP GOAL – Tičar (Urbas, Jeglič)
W: Grotnes (26-27)
L: A. Hočevar (25-28)
SHOTS ON GOAL
8+6+14 = 28
7+11+9 = 27
Goaltenders: Lars Haugen, Pål Grotnes, Ruben Smith. Defence: Alexander Bonsaksen, Brede Csiszar, Juha Kaunismäki, Henrik Solberg, Henrik Ødegaard, Lars Løkken Østli. Forwards: Anders Bastiansen, Robin Dahlstrøm, Jonas Djupvik Løvlie, Kristian Forsberg, Anders Fredriksen, Marius Holtet, Tommy Kristiansen, Peter Lorentzen, Andreas Martinsen, Martin Røymark, Daniel Sørvik, Knut Henrik Spets, Lars Erik Spets, Mathias Trygg.
Goaltenders: Andrej Hočevar, Matija Pintarič. Defence: Blaž Gregorc, Sabahudin Kovačevič, Aleš Kranjc, Gregory Kuznik, Jakob Milovanovič, Žiga Pavlin, Mitja Robar, Andrej Tavželj. Forwards: Miha Brus, Boštjan Goličič, Andrej Hebar, Matej Hočevar, Žiga Jeglič, Žiga Pance, Robert Sabolič, Mitja Šivic, Edo Terglav, Rok Tičar, Jan Urbas, Andrej Židan.