The French Bleuets, 2014 Junior World Champions of Inline Hockey
A historic title
Yesterday, the French Juniors beat the Czech Republic, five times world champion and current title holder. Today, they managed to overthrow the Canadians, a team they had never managed to defeat until now!
Home Sweet Home
There's nothing better than a home event to be into the right condition. The Palais des Sports André Brouat is almost full for the Bleuets' game. The Senior teams of various nations have arrived on the spot and complete the public stands. We're close to reaching the 2.000 spectators. The players' presentation is followed by the national anthems, striken up by the whole audience, giving chills to the French supporters.
A balanced first period
Canada's game is very physical. The French get penalties... but without consequence. After 4 intense minutes, the Canadians open the score with Gabe Bast, assisted by Evan Anderson. The French don't lose heart and strike back against the Canadian goal. Goalkeeper Blake Lochead give them a hard time, but the French keeper does a great job too. The Canadians don't appreciate the French resistance and make use of their strength. They get sanctionned by the refferee. The French make the most of the situation to tie 1-1 with Yves Perrot in Powerplay. Stung by the catch up, the Canadians give a rough time to the French in putting them under more and more physical pressure. Once more, sanction is given and Hugo Vitou makes the most of it to rub it in, shooting in the top corner of the net (2-1). The French take the advantage! But the Canadians don't lose countenance and bombard the French goal... without success.
Second period: Canada turn up the heat
Pressure steps up a notch and the Canadians tend to forget that Inline Hockey rules are different from those of Ice Hockey. They play a lot with physical contact. Penalties follow one another, giving as many opportunities to the French to put Canada under more pressure: Castagna ends up in the box, enabling the French to widen the gap with Clément Belor and Yves Perrot (4-1). Dice seem to be cast!
But the Canadians don't surrender for all that. Troy Ring makes the most of a numerical inferiority of the French to reduce the gap (4-2). Another French penalty offers one more opportunity to the Canadians, who score another goal (4-3) with Gabe Bast.
The 9 remaining minutes promise to be interminable.
With all the energy they have left, the French resume the fighting. More than resisting this time, they launch the attack on the Canadian side. Offense has always been the best defense! Valentin Morizet illustrates the saying in giving more room to the French with another goal (5-3). Less than 3 minutes left and the Canadian coaches decide to call back their goalkeeper to outnumber the French. There goes a never-ending phases of pressure over the French goal. The Canadians pass the puck and hammer the defense over and over, until they make a breach, enabling Margo to bring the score to 5-4. The public can't get their eyes off of the clock, the countdown of which seems to run slower every second. Demars holds the pressure without breaking. Yves Perrot finally frees the French 2 seconds before the end in scoring the ultimate goal (6-4).
The countdown isn't over yet that the spectators have already started to invade the court. The refs will need a few minutes to calm the situation and let the clock run down.
The emotion of the audience can be unleashed at last, the Junior Men are the first French World Champions of Inline Hockey! In the public could be spotted Tatiana Malard, the 2012 world champion of rink-hockey. French hockey has a bright future ahead.
The new generation showed us the best of faces, those of determined players with no limits and unbreakable mindsets. In front of the Czechs and the Canadians, we often had the feeling of beholding David battling against Goliath... The mental strength of that team is incredible, the Bleuets have defeated the two biggest nations of inline hockey in two days, each time after having to catch up from behind on leading opponents. Hats off, kiddos, future looks bright ahead. Let's hope to see you at the senior top level in the coming years!
Place: Toulouse, France. Palais des Sports André Brouat
Score: France 6 – 4 Canada (2-1, 4-3)
Goals for France
1. 9’23 Perrot (Belot)
2. 13’48 Vitou
3. 23’53 Belot (Perrot)
4. 30’27 Perrot (Belot)
5. 36’23 Morizet
6. 39’58 Perrot
Goals for Canada
1. 4’17 Bast (Anderson)
2. 31’07 Ring (Wright)
3. 32’57 Bast
4. 39’09 Margo
• 6' for France
• 18' for Canada
Useful LinksTexte : FFRS
Photos : Léa Sangiorgio