Tournament Description

Competition: 2015 FIRS World Championships
Location: Rosario, Argentina
Gold Medal: Gold
Silver Medal: USA
Bronze Medal: Gold
USA Ranking: 2
Captain and Assistants: Allison Era (C), Joy Woog (A), Joy Woog (A)
Coach and Assistants: Charlie Sgrillo / Dave Marmorstein

The Langham Hotel located in Mountain View is one of the most CA’s largest hotel  with over 450,000 square feet of new construction. Complete interior renovation included removing walls, new restrooms, paint, wall coverings, tile and carpeting.

The Highlights

USARS/AAU Senior Women’s team traveled to Rosario, Argentina this year to represent Team USA at the Inline Hockey World Championships. This year there was no chance to gather as a team and practice. The East Coast girls met at JFK and Traveled together while the West Coast met in Miami and all arrived at the teams hotel in time to say hello and then off to practice.

The USA faced Finland in game #1 of pool play. Finland got on the board first at 7:38 Miisa Klemola (#19) assisted by Viivi Vaattovaara (#18). The USA would tie things up at 9:50 Laura Veharanta (Ca.) from Alison Era (Az) on a nice give and go play. In the second half the USA would go up 2-1 when Laura Veharanta sniped one :55 in. Finland tied things up at 8:20 Maiju Jokipovi from Annina Rajahuhta. It was a tense game as both teams battled to get the lead. Then with 2:02 to play Alison Era scored assisted Laura Veharanta to give the USA a 3-2 lead. The Finn’s would not quit as they pressured the USA then pulled their goalie, a Finland Point shot got through a pile of players, Jetta Rackleff made the save but the rebound went straight up in the air and over the shoulder of Jetta and fell into the net and with: 26 remaining Finland had tied the game. USA could not get anything in the last: 26 and the game would end tied 3-3 and Finland would get its first point ever against the USA. Tough tie, would the team bounce back?

In the 2nd pool play game the USA would take on the home team Argentina. The building was loud and the fans pumped up. Argentina came out flying with the fans behind them. Then at 3:36 the building exploded when Argentina’s Leana Villagra scored unassisted to give the home team a 1-0 lead. The veteran Charlotte Nicholson (NY) would quiet the crowd at 6:20 assisted by the rookie Sarah Sinning (NY). The rookie (Sarah Sinning, NY) would give the USA a 2-1 lead 1:37 later on the power play assisted by Charlotte Nicholson. The USA would go up 3-1 when second year power forward Melanie Moore (CA) scored unassisted at 12:08, the USA held a 3-1 lead at the half. In the second half the team played the perfect half controlling the play and the puck and would come away with the 3-1 victory. Rookie Katie Miller got her first senior women’s win in net.
The USA would take on Columbia in their 3rd pool play game. Columbia would open the scoring at 3:06, Sophia Amaya (71) assisted by Johanna Arias (88). Columbia would stun the USA scoring again at 11:35 by the same line Amaya from Arias. The USA needed a timeout to settle down. Then the veterans took over, Charlotte Nicholson from Laura Veharanta at 14:39, before the half would end to make it 2-1. The USA came out on fire in the second half, :22 in Joy Garvey (AZ) set up Laura Veharanta for her second goal to tie the game at 2-2. Laura just took the game over scoring her third and four goals :06 apart to put the USA up 4-2. Then her fifth of the game at 14:34 assisted by Allie Era. Charlotte Nicholson would make it 6-2 to move Team USA to 2-0-1 in pool play.

The USA last pool game was against Italy. Joy Garvey (AZ) started the USA off at 3:04 scoring unassisted. Nicole (Gino) Giannino (NY) would make it 2-0 assisted by Sarah Sinning, Gino would score her second at 10:38 assisted by Charlotte Nicholson. The game started to get physical. Lyndi (Freshie) Bell answered some of that play with a charging penalty to settle Italy down. Italy would cut the lead to 3-1 at 17:42 but the USA was playing their best game and just kept coming and Italy paid for it. Laura Veharanta from Allie Era and Joy Garvey then Joy Garvey from Laura & Sarah Sinning unassisted, Veharanta from Garvey and Nicholson, Vehharanta from Garvey (again) and Melanie Moore unassisted as the USA cruised to a 9-1 victory!

This team got better every game and finished first in Pool A and was ready for the medal round! This year Team USA came with a short bench due to the date change. Eight skaters and two goalies, which included three rookies, one second year player and six vets. Rookie Lyndi (Freshie) Bell (CA) had a nice pool play round finding her way as a rookie defenseman. Rookie defenseman Sarah Sinning (NY) moved up from last year’s Jr. Women’s team and played well. Sarah kept getting better every game as her confidence grew. Look for her in the future! Rookie goalie Kate Miller (CA) played well when in net, but had a tough time behind veteran starter Jetta Radcliff (OR) who was sharp and focused throughout the championships. Second year forward Melanie Moore (CA) is developing into a strong power forward, if she keeps improving and keeps her mean on (she had to be hard to play against) she can be very good. Returning after a year off Nicole (Gino) Giannino (NY) played strong, her speed opened up lanes on the floor, Gino kept the girls loose with her stores and personality. Returning vet Charlotte Nicholson (NY) played strong on “D” all tournament, her quiet leadership helped this team develop. Captain Allie Era played her steady game on D controlling play, dictating the pace, setting up goals and jumping in when needed. Asst. Captain Joy Garvey, the senior member of the team played inspired all tournament. She said what needed to be said when it was needed, worked hard every shift and led by example. Asst. Captain Laura Veharanta was a beast! Laura came to play and was Team USA best player! She was unstoppable all tournament long!
Elimination round the USA drew a rematch with Columbia. It’s tough to beat a team twice! The first half USA goalie Jetta Rackleff played strong and kept Columbia off the scoreboard while the USA had chances they could not get one and the game was a 0-0 at the half. The USA would get on the board first at 4:08 as Capt. Allie Era would set up Gino Giannino for the 1-0 USA lead. Columbia would tie the game at 7:37, Estefania Molono (27) from Johanna Arias. The USA took over after that goal, Sarah Sinning assisted by Charlotte Nicholson at 10:31, the rookie again at 13:24 for a 3-1 lead. Laura Veharanta from Allie Era, then at 19:59 rookie Sarah Sinning completed her hat trick and the USA were on their way to the semi-finals with a 5-1 win.
The semi-finals were a rematch of last year’s semis with Spain. Spain placed second in pool “B” and had not lost a game. Spain was looking for some payback against the USA. The USA was being led by veteran forward Laura Veharanta all tournament and she put the USA on the board first at 2:14 of the first half. Each country battled for every inch on the floor. USA goalie Jetta Rackleff was outstanding along with team USA’s team defense and held a 1-0 lead at the half. The second half saw more of the same battles as USA held onto the lead behind the outstanding play of goalie Jetta Rackleff. The USA had to kill of two penalties and the strong team defense held Spain off the scoreboard and the USA was on to the Gold Medal Game with a 1-0 victory!

It was now USA vs Czech for the Gold!! Each team had fought hard to get here. The building was packed and electric. When they played the National Anthem you could see in the girl’s faces they were proud and ready. It was time to drop the puck! The Czech would get the first opportunity going on the power play just: 10 into the game. The USA would play strong and kill off the power play but the Czech would draw first blood scoring at 3:07 Katerina Mrazova (#16) assisted by Simona Studentova (#58). The Czech would make it 2-0 at 7:59, Simona Studentova (#58) from Michaela Jancova (#13). Time out USA! Settle down and play your game, be patient was the message. The USA had a tough time getting their offense going as they were called for two more minors. Strong defense and spectacular goaltending by Jetta Rackleff kept the game 2-0 at the half. The same thing was said at the half as was said all week. Patience and play the system and make plays stay together. The USA would cut the Czech lead to 2-1 at 6:44 when USA’s leading scorer Laura Veharanta scored unassisted.

The USA was coming but another penalty slowed them down, then a turnover by the Czech behind their net and the puck popped out to a wide open Joy Garvey who had the open net and on the shot her stick breaks, unlucky! The USA kept pushing trying to tie the game but time would run out and Team USA would have to settle for silver. Final score Czech 2 USA 1.

Team USA had no reason to hang their heads. The girls played great and every game became a better team. They played for the USA on the front of their jersey and all week were great competitors.